In-shell pecans that were exported have averaged $2.63 per pound over the last 11 years while shelled pecans exported were averaging $5.78 per pound during the same time period. While pecan exports have risen over the past two decades the price of shelled pecans has been more volatile than the price of in-shell pecans.
The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service collects and publishes data on pecan exports to countries around the world. Overall pecan exports have risen over the past twenty years from around 20,000 metric tons in 2000 to around 90,000 metric tons in 2021. This growth has been fueled by industry efforts to market pecans in both the US and abroad.
I recently harvested the last twenty or so years of data and found some interesting information about pecan export prices and volumes. We can easily see that China was a major driving factor behind both price and volume of pecans exported. While the decline in exports to China is easily quantifiable in the data, we can see that it has not been as significant as it could have been.
With the American Pecan Council in place around 2016 American growers were better positioned to weather the temporary loss of one large market with exports to other countries. Pecan prices took a hit, but more so in the shelled category, which is the largest consumer of pecans by category.
In-shell pecan prices have fluctuated far less than shelled pecan prices over the last 11 years taking a slight dip after the trade war between the US and China. Shelled pecan prices peaked in 2017, however with higher demand and a shorter crop this past season, we have seen prices increasing significantly over the past few months.
A large crop is needed this year to fill the growing demand, and now with a larger marketing budget, we could see prices continue to climb until growers are able to catch up with the growing demand.