Shipping delays, a later harvest and a significantly shorter crop have all contributed to the lowest pecan shipments in several years and currently 33% behind last season, which saw some highest shipments since the trade war between the US and China.
You might expect with pecan shipments being at the lowest levels in 4 years that prices would have fallen, but you would be wrong to make that assumption. In fact farm gate pecan prices have been the highest in years and the kernel market is now at the highest levels since 2018. Pecan kernel prices dropped from highs of 2017 and early 2018 hovering above the $6 ($13.23 / kg) range for the commercial wholesale market.
In-shell prices have seen a strong recovery this year as well. In November and December of 2020 in-shell prices hit decade lows of $1.26 ($2.78 / kg) and growers had very few offers on the pecans available for sale. This year in-shell prices have recovered more than a dollar per pound from the 2020 lows and are now hovering above $2.30 per pound ($5.07 / kg).
Shipments have been much slower this year and inventory has been trending downward also. Pecan deliveries from growers have been slower as well with a later harvest. The Mexican pecan crop has also played a role with drought and water scarcities in Chihuahua, a smaller crop across North America has caused prices to push higher.
The American Pecan Council recently reported some positive news from work being done in several foreign markets such as Germany and China and will hopefully result in increased consumption in those markets. China has been a tough market to re-capture, exports last season showed improvements but this year shipments to China have slowed.
Domestic consumption has been the big driver of demand for pecans over the past 4 years and now with an increased budget for marketing will hopefully continue to drive sales. The APPB has taken over the domestic marketing efforts and will soon resume domestic marketing, hopefully with an increased budget from the assessment of the US crop as well as imported pecans. The new research and promotion board has allowed for assessment of imports where the APC was not able to perform those tasks. The new assessment of the imported pecans will theoretically increase the marketing budget for pecans and hopefully consumption.