With the last 2 seasons seeing pecan exports take a hit due largely to trade conflicts between China and the US, pecan growers across the US are seeing improvements with the phase one trade deal and the significantly lower prices.
With the season only just beginning and 2 months reported for the season, the pecan industry is seeing a very positive start to the pecan season. Running from September to August each year in line with the start of harvest season here in the US growers, shellers and accumulators report their pecan purchases and shipments to the American Pecan Council. The council staff then report that information back to the industry to allow growers, buyers and sellers to better assess the industry and their own positions throughout the year.
The last two seasons have been rough for growers, as the last decade had been spent building a Chinese consumer base, only to have the rug pulled out from under them with the onset of the trade war. Pecan prices on the farm plummeted over night and demand from China dried up.
While marketing efforts have continued in China, the retaliatory tariffs pushed prices beyond what any buyers were willing to pay. Marketing in other countries and even right here in the US has played a big role in absorbing the recent excess supply. While weather events did play a large (50 million lbs) role in the supply side of the equation, this year has seen a “bumper” crop and is pushing supplies back up, and filling the pecan inventory coffers.
The last few years exports have been dismal when compared to the quantities in years prior when China was increasing purchases year after year. While exports have been good considering the loss, the pandemic has again weighed on exports leaving last year down slightly from the previous year.
This season however is starting off with a bang, and much of it is coming from China. With decade low farm gate prices, and tariff reduction options with the phase one trade deal, exports have started the season strong. While shipments to China are still quite minimal, the increase is significant and very positive news for the industry who has been increasing supply capacity to meet new demand.