USDA September Cold Storage Figures Indicate 29 Million More Pounds in Inventory Than in 2017

October 23, 2018

Yesterday the USDA released the September Cold Storage Holdings.  Using a 50% meat-to-inshell conversion rate, there were 29 million more pounds in inventory than the same period a year ago. Assuming that the figures are accurate, the 2018 US supply situation shapes-up as follows:

2018 Carry-In (50% Meat Conv. Rate)                            169,365,000

2018 USDA NASS (8-State Estimate)                               278,900,000

2018 Mexican Exports to US (net estimate)                  230,000,000

2018 Total US Supply (estimate)                                      678,265,000

While it could be years before the industry knows the full extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Michael, initial estimates continue to be revised upwards as Growers are able to get into the orchards to assess their losses. The most immediate impact has been a delay in the overall harvest.  Combined with the heavy rains and flooding in Texas, Sheller’s are working feverishly to keep-up with increased Fall demand.  This is clearly evident in the amount of pecans coming across the border. Through October 15th, imports were 38.9 million pounds (inshell basis): approximately 49.8% over the same period year ago.

Finally, while kernel prices have firmed over the past two weeks, they are still considerably lower than last year.  This has spurred additional interest among both export and domestic buyers. However, almond and walnut kernel prices continue to be approximately $2.50/lb. lower than pecans.  The impact will continue to be felt in the bakery and retail segments where pecans and walnuts compete ‘head to head.’