The latest pecan position report shows pecan growers have delivered 56,133,548 more pounds to first handlers than at the same time last season. From September to January of the current season, pecan growers have delivered 200,530,616 lbs of in-shell pecans to first handlers, while last season showed 144,397,068 lbs delivered as of January.
The increase represent a 39% increase in deliveries to first handlers so far for the season. Lower farm gate prices and increasing consumer demand have likely led to the increase in grower deliveries. Shipments of pecans to end users have also been increasing for the season, currently up 16.4% year to date.
The increasing shipments both from growers to first handlers as in-shell and then again from first handlers to end users is good news for the industry, showing that growers are still keeping pace with the increasing demand. Growers have been planting new orchards for decades as demand has continued to increase since the onset of the marketing efforts by the US Pecan Growers and now the American Pecan Council.
Commitments to ship have fallen over last season during the month of January with in-shell pecan commitments falling 3% and shelled pecan commitments falling 24% for the month of January. This could signal a future slow down in shipments but not necessarily.
The pecan industry has been experiencing growing pains over the last decade but has managed to keep pace with the growth. The onset of the trade war halted pecan export shipments to China, however the phase one trade deal is slowly resuming trade allowing for reduced tariffs.
With shipments to China resuming growers may again be up against the wall attempting to increase acreage and production at a breakneck pace. Currently growth is manageable and growers are able to keep pace with the increasing demand, however if shipments to China return to even half of their previous capacity, growers will again be left struggling to keep pace.