Pecan growers seeing somewhat limited supplies post-Irma

Despite the threat of significantly reduced supply after Hurricane Irma, the domestic pecan crop is coming out closer than was thought.

“It’s pretty similar to last year in supply. In total, we suffered 20-30 per cent loss of this crop because of Hurricane Irma. Trees got knocked down and a lot of nuts got knocked down prematurely,” says Lawton Pearson of Fort Valley, Ga.-based Pearson Farm. “Everyone wound up a little bit better than we feared. So supply from year to year should be relatively constant.”

Demand up
At the same time, demand is stronger right now for pecans. “Consistent with last year, we had strong demand overseas and actually I would say demand domestically has picked up a little bit from where it was last year,” says Pearson. “That’s due to everything from the price of almonds and walnuts to hopefully some early marketing efforts nationally on pecans—so we’re marketing nuts collectively from California all the way to Georgia. The federal marketing order is in the beginning stages of spending some real dollars in marketing pecans. It’s so early in that process though but the supply of other nuts has an effect domestically on our demand.”

Especially in demand are pecan pieces or chopped pecans supplied to largely end users for products such as pies. “The pieces market has seen a slow build over the last three to four years,” says Pearson. “It just seems like we can’t keep them in stock or to keep up with demand sometimes we have to take halves—which we try to keep whole—and chop them.”

..and pricing down
Meanwhile pricing has dropped somewhat on pecans. “The price came down a little bit and when that price comes off the domestic demand has picked up,” Pearson adds. “It’s still pretty strong and stable. The first half of this crop was incredibly expensive to buy because of the hurricane and not knowing what kind of crop we had and thinking it was going to be short. But since then that has played out and the price has moderated.”

For more information:
Lawton Pearson
Pearson Farm
Tel: +1-478-952-1906

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