Pecans Continue to be the "Best Buy' for the Money

June 24, 2014

The Tri-State Growers concluded their annual meeting Friday with the first grower estimate of the 2014 pecan crop.  Using their figure, the 2014 US supply situation shapes up as follows (inshell basis):     




2013 Carry-Out (NFF Estimate)


2014 US Crop (Tri-State Estimate)


2014 Mexican Imports (NFF Est.)


2014 US Total (NFF Estimate)


*Note: 2013 US Total Supply was approximately 575 million pounds (inshell basis)


It would appear that even with this relatively low on-year crop estimate, there will still be plenty of pecans to go around. Many within the industry feel that the Tri-State estimate shorts several states, especially Georgia. Yes, Georgia is experiencing higher than normal rains with many growers having already sprayed their orchards ten times for scab.  However, last year was an off year with Georgia experiencing a severe scab problem yet the state still produced between 75 and 80 million pounds.   Barring natural disasters or a scab problem that turns out to be worse than last year’s, the above figure is good news.

Then there is the Cold Storage figure released today by the USDA.  Based on today’s number, the industry will probably carryout somewhere around 170 million pounds of pecans (inshell basis). As such, it would appear that consumption is running somewhere around 405 million pounds.  As with all statistics, it is not what jumps out at you but what is buried in the numbers. Last year overall shipments for the month of May totaled approximately 19 million pounds.  This year, shipments totaled approximately 18 million pounds and that was with a China that has purchased 35% fewer pecans than a year ago.  Further, when one looks at the number of meats that came across the border and then adds that to what disappeared from the Cold Storage holdings, the industry consumed 13.44 million pounds of meats (net basis).  Conclusion, domestic consumption continues at a very strong pace.

Exports are also doing well. At the end of February, worldwide shipments were down almost 35% over the same period a year ago. China was down over 51%. Through April, worldwide shipments were only down 19%; China was only down 35%.  If one takes China out of the equation, overseas shipments are 1% ahead of last year.

Finally, with almonds, walnuts and pistachios selling at or near record levels, pecans are still the best buy for the dollar. As such, the industry has a great opportunity to continue to increase consumption. In order to do so, the industry must continue to offer stable competitive pricing.  The current supply situation would seem to indicate that the supply is there to do so. However, a failure to take advantage of the current situation could result in a repeat of the 2011/2012 crop year.  As a very famous Ford commercial once noted, ‘You can pay me now, or you can pay me later!’

As usual, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 630-879-5200.