The US has long been the global leader of pecans. While pecans do grow in other countries the southern US has been on the forefront of the market pushing for better varieties and innovation in the market.
In 2016 growers from across the US followed in Georgia’s steps and began collecting assessments on all pecans grown in the US to allow for more marketing and research dollars. The American Pecan Council was formed, marketing and research began. Focusing much of their efforts here in the US domestic demand has grown significantly since inception.
Demand however is growing faster than pecan producers in the US can supply pecans. Currently, pecan shipments on average outpace what US growers can supply by around 9.4 million pounds per month when averaged over the last 3 years.
In the 2018-19 pecan season, producers in the US were able to deliver 249.8 million pounds while the market demanded 339.1 million pounds leaving a supply gap of 89.3 million pounds that had to be filled with pecan imports.
In the 2019-20 season the supply gap grew to 132.2 million pounds with US growers delivering 237.5 million pounds and pecan shipments to buyers totaling 369.8 million pounds.
So far this season we are currently sitting at a 109.4 million pound gap that has to be supplied for imported pecans.
Based on the above numbers and based on an average yield of 752 lbs per acre for the US in 2019, US growers need to plant 175,915 acres in order to fill last years supply gap of 132.2 million pounds.
US pecan growers are planting new orchards, but the growth in supply is not expected to catch up with demand in the foreseeable future. American pecan growers are leaving a significant amount of money on the table and allowing others in the market to fill the gap. As China continues to increase purchases, the supply gap is only expected to grow.