Nuts

Pecans: North American crops are significantly smaller

March 28, 2022 2:01 PM, Der AUDITOR
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REUS/ATLANTA. In the USA and Mexico, the most important pecan-growing countries, there was a noticeable year-on-year decline in production due to the severe drought. Brazil and China, however, recorded significant increases.

Late start to harvest in the USA

After a smaller than expected crop in the North American growing regions of Mexico and the USA, the market there remains relatively firm. In its latest report, the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) reports that an unusually warm autumn in the USA led to a late start to the harvest, especially in the southeastern growing regions. As the harvest continued well into November, growers missed important holidays such as Chinese New Year, so US exports of inshell pecans were down 54% from the previous year. Prices for US goods remain high on the European spot market, but have declined slightly in recent weeks; Fancy Junior Mammoth Halves currently cost EUR 12.60/kg FCA Spain here.

Pecans, USA

Type

EUR/kg

USD/kg

Fancy Junior Mammoth Halves

12.60

13.80

Large Pieces

10.15

11.10

Small Pieces

10.05

10.95

FCA Spain

Drought in Mexico

Mexico also saw a crop decline of over 38% compared to the previous year due to the severe drought, which also had a noticeable impact on exports. In particular, shipments of unshelled pecans to China fell by half compared to their peak in 2019. It now remains to be seen how much the water stress has affected the trees and whether Mexico will bounce back with a big crop this year or next. The Mexican crop for the 2021/22 season is 101,606 mt, according to the latest INC estimates.

South Africa struggles with transport problems

In South Africa, the 2021 crop looked much better, which prompted some Chinese traders to buy their goods there instead of in the USA or Mexico. Various difficulties arose with shipments, including a lack of workers at the ports and the low number of available containers. Now that the trees are starting to bear in the growing regions, the INC is very optimistic for 2022; first cautious estimates amount to a good 24,000 mt, so that the country could increase its crop volume by about a quarter.

Pecan production, inshell, in mt

Country

2020/21

2021/22

Diff.

USA

138,510

117,028

-15.5%

Mexico

164,300

101,606

-38.2%

South Africa

19,200

19,600

2.1%

Brazil

3,500

6,000

71.4%

China

1,350

4,000

196.3%

Australia

2,086

3,255

56.0%

Argentina

1,300

2,000

53.8%

Others

1,900

3,500

84.2%

Total

332,146

256,989

-22.6%

INC, March 2022

Harvest to start soon in Brazil

Brazil was able to increase its pecan crop by a whopping 71% year-on-year in 2021, but experts expect the volume to be lower again in 2022 - the harvest begins here next month. This is mainly due to the severe drought, although farmers have been able to offset some of this with artificial irrigation, especially in the new plantations. Meanwhile, the outlook for Brazilian exports is quite positive and there have been several deals with Europe, the Middle East and Asia, both for pecan kernels and inshell nuts.

Larger acreage in China

China's crop volume has increased by 193% year-on-year as farmers there have significantly increased their acreage over the past decade. Chinese traders are starting to buy more goods domestically, but according to the INC, there is still a lot of room for improvement, as a large part is still sourced from overseas.

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