The June 2023 Crop Corner
The Crop Corner, a monthly report from The Pecan Newsletter, provides a brief update on the market, prices, and current crop.
Created and published by Pecan South editors, The Pecan Newsletter provides weekly harvest and market updates from September through January by compiling reports from growers and market information from reliable sources worldwide. The Crop Corner follows these same standards and techniques and provides seasonal updates for readers.
Leading up to this month, the drought across North America expanded in the driest regions and contracted in some areas due to late spring rains. In June, we know it will just get hotter, and without the relief of rain, the drought will become more dire. These conditions can impact nut development and stress the trees more during the June Drop.
In mid-May, a grower in Central Texas noted how unbelievably dry it was at their orchard. This grower added that the orchard received very little rain for the entire year.
“Water, water, water is the issue,” says a grower in the Mesilla Valley. This grower shared that some trees in the region are already showing signs of stress from the drought. They appear yellow and “skeletal.” Although the weather has been cooler than last year, the lack of rain continues to stress local water resources and orchards.
Over in Georgia, growers saw temperatures above 90 degrees in mid and late March. Some growers saw leaf scorching on young trees and even reported spots of dieback throughout their orchards. Trees planted later into the year are at higher risk of stress, as they have not had as much time to establish roots before budbreak. Other trees that experienced cold damage earlier this year in mid-March are more susceptible to heat stress and damage. The damage from the cold spell may not be apparent until these trees begin to show scorching and dieback.
Growers in Mexico can attest to the drought’s impact on their crops over the last two years, and the suffering continues. Those with access to water or irrigation have been able to supplement the lack of rain, but trees are still stressed.
Besides issues with heat and drought, growers also continue to battle pecan pests and diseases. East Texas pecan producers reported issues with pecan phylloxera this spring after finding galls on leaves, leave stems, and other parts of the tree.
Even with these challenges, many growers look forward to the coming crop. One Texas grower shared that their crop is “looking really good.” Over in New Mexico, growers prepare for an “off” year and report fewer nut clusters. But even then, these clusters reportedly appear to be bigger than last year. One New Mexican grower says the clusters appear to be “5-to-6s instead of 3-to-4s and could make it a better off year.”
This month will be a pivotal time for the developing nuts and give the industry a better understanding of what is to come. In the July issue of Pecan South, the Crop Corner will share the early industry estimates for the 2022 crop.
Market & Prices:
Entering the summer months, growers and industry members continue to express their concerns for the market. Still, pecans continue to move as shellers and exporters grapple with the effects of a poor crop year. The current movement of pecans and handler inventory is reflected in the American Pecan Council’s most recent Pecan Position Report for April 2023, released at the end of May.
The Pecan Industry Position Report for April 2023 features the latest data on pecan shipments, commitments, and exports from U.S. handlers. The federal marketing order requires U.S. handlers to submit this information to the American Pecan Council and gives the Council the power to gather industry data.
The April 2023 Position Report states that the Net Open Position—or the amount of pecans in U.S. handler inventory available for purchase at the end of the reporting month—is 6,083,309 pounds, which is an 81.8% decrease from March’s Net Open Position.
Pecan imports from other countries remain below last year’s levels as do the number of pecans exported to Mexico for shelling and then returned to the U.S. According to the most recent Position Report, U.S. handlers imported 1,123,201 pounds of pecans outside of the country this April, which is 45% decrease from April 2022.
Interested parties may access this report and others online at AmericanPecan.com under the “For Industry” tab.
In early May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2022 Summary. This report from USDA NASS “contains preliminary and annual summaries of acreage, yield, production, use, price, and value” by state. The data is gathered through monthly grower surveys as well as annual surveys.
According to this Summary, 2022 marked another off year for tree nut production in the United States; utilized production in the United States was down 12% from 2021. This decrease follows a downward trend for utilized production, which peaked in 2020. The value of utilized production was also down 33% from 2021 while bearing acreage increase slightly from last year.
USDA NASS reports that the United States produced 277.7 million pounds of pecans, compared to 256.45 and 304.05 million pounds in 2021 and 2020 respectively.
Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2022 Summary also shares the price per pound for the three most recent crop years. According to this report, the average price for pecans is $1.80 per pound in 2022, compared to $2.16 per pound in 2021 and $1.42 per pound in 2020.