As pecan growers across North America harvest pecans with only a few major weather impediments, in-shell pecan inventories are reported at just over double last year’s inventories for the month of September.
Pecan harvest has come early across the south and growers are steady harvesting in southeast and central southern states with the west soon to follow. The early pecan harvest along with good yields this year has brought a bountiful pecan crop in the US. Over the last 2 years eastern pecan growers struggled with the initial damage from hurricane Micheal and then the lackluster performance of the following season. This year however, the crop looks great and the orchards are producing heavy crops.
Alabama pecan growers suffered a recent storm that damaged many of the pecan orchards near the coast, but orchards further inland were not as affected.
Farm gate prices have left something to be desired this year as many handlers are waiting to see what kind of demand will be coming from shellers. Retail markets have reported strong demand, especially in local markets, but with most of the crop still being purchased by shellers, many of the handlers are still waiting for larger purchases to set the market tone. As of now the wholesale market is off to a slow start.
The phase one trade deal between the US and China has offered some hope to the export markets, however China is still not purchasing any large amounts as expected, however there is still time before the Chinese new year festivals and the US has entered harvest about 2 weeks earlier this year.
Shelled pecan inventories have dropped around 17% for the month of September. Hopefully this is not an indication of slowed demand. We will be able to know more when the APC releases the September handler data.
China has been in the market, bargain hunting, however most exporters are not willing to set the tone of bargain prices, but deals are still being made. With early farm gate prices trending nearly $0.80 lower than last season many growers are unwilling to trade at these prices and many have plans to go to cold storage until prices recover.