Exports of Shelled Pecans Continue Upward Trend/Texas Growers Release Their 2013 Crop Estimates

July 17, 2013

Last week’s release by the Foreign Ag Statistic Service (FAS) of the May export figures contained some very encouraging news.  While inshell shipments to China have temporarily ground to a halt, shipments of shelled Pecan meats continue to improve. May meat shipments were up 10% over April and 4.8% over the same period last year.  Further, this trend was true for Canada, Holland, Mexico and the UK; the four largest Pecan importing countries. This continues a trend that started several months ago, and with meat prices continuing to be very competitive relative to Almonds, Walnuts and Pistachios, should continue well into the Fall. Based on current 2013 crop projections, and barring a natural disaster, the trend should continue well into next year.

With respect to the 2013 crop, the Texas Pecan Growers Association closed their annual meeting yesterday with their two best estimates for the upcoming crop as well as their projections of the 2013/2014 total supply.  According to Mr. Harold Pape, the industry can expect a crop of approximately 230 million pounds.  Mr. Kyle Brookshire puts the 2013 crop at 202 million pounds. Considering the fact that the Tri-State Growers estimated the crop to be around 222 million pounds, both numbers look pretty good. 

Where their estimates begin to show a slight coefficient of personal prejudice occurs with their Mexican Crop projections and the possible 2012 carry-out. Mr. Pape projects that Mexico will send 70 million pounds of Pecans to the US while Mr. Brookshire estimates that 80 million pounds will cross the border. While anything is possible, it should be noted that at no time since 2003 have the Mexicans shipped less than 100  million pounds to the US and not since 2002 have they shipped only 70 to 80 million pounds. The carry-out figures used to get to their total supply figures of 490 and 452 million pounds respectively are also subject to some conversation.  Having said that, expect the Pecan Sheller’s to come up with an estimate reflecting their slant on the crop at their annual meeting in September.  With the USDA having pulled out of the crop estimation business, an industry that has been operating with questionable statistics for years will now get to operate in total darkness. How could anyone not argue that the time has come for the industry to institute a check-off?