Nuts

Pecans: drought vs floods

October 27, 2022 at 4:37 PM, Der AUDITOR
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ATLANTA/REUS. While heavy rains in the North American growing areas have led to flooding, other countries such as China and Brazil are struggling with severe drought. Both weather phenomena are having an impact on pecan cultivation.

Crop increases in North America

As reported by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC), the Mexican government has not yet released an official figure regarding the 2021 pecan crop. However, based on USDA import figures, the quantity is estimated at 128,425 mt of inshell pecans. The quality of the 2022 crop is reported as good, as heavy rains in September provided the necessary irrigation at the right time. The 2022 crop volume is currently estimated at 145,151 mt, which would represent a 13% increase over last year. Mexico remains the most important producing country.

The heavy rainfall did not spare the pecan belt in the USA either, leading to flooding there in some places, although according to the INC this only resulted in minor crop damage. On the whole, the growing conditions were favourable and the quality of the nuts should be convincing. The 2022/23 season is forecast to yield 137,893 mt of inshell pecans, an increase of more than 19% over last year. However, the increased costs for fertilisers, energy, etc. are likely to prevent large price declines.

Drought reduces Brazil's crop

In China, pecans are grown in nine provinces and, according to the INC, about 30% of plantations are currently bearing nuts. Although some growing areas, especially the Yangzi River basin, are experiencing above-average drought this year, the crop is expected to be 5% higher than last year, with 4,200 mt of inshell pecans. The USDA estimates are currently significantly higher at 6,000 mt.

Drought is also the watchword for pecan cultivation in Brazil. The drought there has led to a crop decline of a whopping 50% and this year's crop volume is estimated at 3,000 mt. Overall, the yield was good, but the size of the kernels leaves much to be desired. There is good news from the export side, as both unshelled and shelled nut exports have increased, according to the INC. The outlook for 2023 is better, with an estimated 7,000 mt, but again below-average rainfall is forecast, so the outcome remains to be seen.

Pecan production, inshell, in mt

Country

2021/22

2022/23

Diff.

Mexico

128,425

145,151

13.0%

USA

115,803

137,893

19.1%

South Africa

19,112

30,500

59.6%

China

4,000

4,200

5.0%

Australia

3,411

2,950

-13.5%

Brazil

6,000

3,000

-50.0%

Others

5,500

5,500

0.0%

Total

282,251

329,194

16.6%

INC, October 2022

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