Nuts

Walnuts: US production may have reached its peak

August 18, 2021 11:51 AM, Der AUDITOR
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SACRAMENTO. US exports are significantly above last year's level. However, experts reckon that farmers may lack the financial incentive to expand the acreage in the coming years. For now, new areas that have been planted in recent years are still coming on stream.

Germany increases July imports by 150%

US walnut shipments amount to 381,864 mt since the beginning of the season, which is an increase of 21% compared to the same period last year. About 287,470 mt (+27%) of shelled and unshelled walnuts were shipped overseas, while domestic demand totalled 94,394 mt (+5%). While shipments to the Asian and African regions in particular increased significantly, considerably less US goods were shipped to Central and South America. At the same time, exports to Europe increased by 6% to 94,179 mt. Germany's total imports of 32,199 mt are at a similar level as last year, while July imports of 1,429 mt are actually up 150%. Altogether, the US shipped 13,705 mt (+23%) of shelled and unshelled walnuts domestically and internationally in July 2021. Deliveries to the domestic market amounted to 7,626 mt (+9%), while the export volume reached 6,078 mt, which corresponds to an increase of 45% compared to last year.

US walnut shipments, in mt

Destination

2019/20

2020/21

Diff.

Africa/Middle East

76,419

106,061

39%

North America

97,315

103,364

6%

Europe

89,178

94,179

6%

Asia/Oceania

50,986

74,050

45%

Central/South America

320

250

-22%

Others

1,736

3,961

128%

Total

315,953

381,864

21%

California Walnuts; since the beginning of the season

710,000 mt could have been the maximum

The experts at Rabobank reckon that while global walnut production could continue to grow, the US crop has already reached its limit. In 2020, around 710,000 mt of in shell walnuts were harvested in the US, setting a new record. However, there was a lack of financial incentive to expand acreage on a large scale in the coming years. A California Farm Bureau food and agriculture news report indicates that last autumn's extreme temperature swings may have caused frost damage in many areas. University of California Cooperative Extension agricultural advisors, including Luke Milliron, reported that the "winter kill" was severe enough to affect both young and old walnut trees. "I wouldn’t expect to see any problems with overall crop numbers because there’s a lot of new acreage coming online, but for some orchards, it may take years of recovery for those blocks," Milliron said.

The severe heat and drought in parts of California will certainly take its toll as well. The June report by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council had estimated the 2021 US walnut crop at about 675,000 mt. However, an official crop estimate from the US authorities is not expected to be published until the end of August or beginning of September.

Prices at a good level

In the European spot market, walnut prices are largely stable, and there have even been a few downward corrections. US walnuts, in shell, Chandler, LHP 40% are currently at a level of EUR 6.00/kg FCA Spain, while Chandlers, in shell, jumbo are trading at EUR 2.45/kg FCA.

Walnuts

Type

EUR/kg

USA, in shell, Tulare, jumbo, 2020 crop

2.10

USA, in shell, Chandler, jumbo, 2020 crop

2.45

Chile, in shell, Chandler, 32+ mm, 2021 crop

3.10

USA, shelled, Chandler, LHP 40%, 2020 crop

6.00

Chile, shelled, Chandler, EHLP 80%, 2021 crop

7.90

FCA Spain

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