The 2019 North American pecan harvest has begun, and comparative pecan data shows increasing consumption both domestically and abroad.
The USDA released the August Pecan Cold Storage Report last week, showing the warehoused commodities across the US in cold storage. The report keeps track of current quantities of agricultural commodities and other goods. The USDA reports on both in-shell pecans as well as shelled pecans in order to better gauge the amount of pecans waiting to be processed (in-shell pecans) as well as the amount of pecans already processed and headed to their destination (shelled pecans). This generalization, of course, will not hold true for every pecan in cold storage, however, does give an accurate depiction of current pecan market conditions. US pecan growers have weathered another tough year and still managed to grow consumption despite multiple setbacks; and the future looks brighter every day.
When the China / US trade war began, pecans were immediately the target of Chinese tariffs that increased as the trade war heated up. Pecan prices around the globe dropped significantly due largely uncertainty in the market. The pecan growers recently funded the American Pecan Council to form a federal marketing order to pool resources for research and marketing. With increasing global supply pecan buyers have turned to countries with lower labor costs and less regulations imposed on American farmers, and yet despite being kicked while down, the APC have proven effective at increasing awareness and ultimately demand for American pecans. The US pecan growers have been working in foreign markets for years now and the marketing is moving pecans into foreign countries as well as increasing domestic demand. Global production has been estimated to grow at an average of 6% and cold storage holding reports have supported this estimate with increases in both the shelled pecan and in-shell pecan holdings increasing. Some of the more encouraging data shows more pecans in production than expected with current global supply.
Consumer demand seems to be increasing at a faster rate than current than the current supply capacity. With Chinese buyers back in the market, this year could see prices and demand higher than last year.