Pecan Exports Soar

February 13, 2013

This past Thursday the National Pecan Sheller’s Association (NPSA) released their estimate of the 2012 Pecan Crop projecting a crop of 316 million pounds (inshell basis).  While this is approximately 14 million pounds more than the January USDA estimate of 302.8 million pounds, due to the significant increase in consumption currently being experienced by the industry, the apparent increase should have little or no impact on current market prices. If the NPSA figure is correct, and barring any natural disasters, the supply situation shapes up as follows:

2011 Carry-Out


US Crop (NPSA estimate)


Mexican Imports (estimate)


Total Supply (estimate)           

2012/2013 Consumption (estimate)

2012 Carry-out (estimate)






*The above figures do not include production in Australia and South Africa the bulk of which is consumed in the respective countries or exported to China

**2011 Consumption was approximately 395 million pounds (inshell basis)

Earlier this week the USDA/Foreign Ag Statistics Service (FAS) released the December export numbers.  As expected, exports are considerably ahead of last year.  Based on the recently released figures, China will set a new record for imported Pecans.  Between August 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012, China imported 71.7 million pounds (inshell basis) compared to 36.9 million pounds during the same period one year ago.  That is already 6.1 million pounds more than the entire 2011 crop year and only 8.7 million pounds less than the 2009 export crop year record.  With seven months left in this export crop year, shipments of 100 million pounds for the 2012 export crop year are not out of the realm of possibility.  Worldwide Pecan exports are also up dramatically.  Overall shipments during the same period this crop export year were up 40.2 million pounds; 115.1 million pounds vs. 74.9 million pounds the previous year.

Because the Chinese buy only the biggest and highest quality nuts, those which, when shelled, yield Mammoth, Jr. Mammoth and Jumbo halves, the industry can expect to see a continued shortage of big halves. This is a problem that is only going to get worse in the year ahead nd one that the Pecan industry needs to address.

As for the current price spread between halves and pieces, as the increased consumption continues to eat away at what was once perceived as a fairly significant oversupply, prices should start to rise as the consuming public starts to realize that Pecans are the best nut value.  Unlike eighteen months ago when Pecans were the highest priced nut, other than Peanuts, and some sizes/varieties of Almonds, Pecans are now the cheapest nut. Because most major Pecan users have locked in the lower prices through the balance of 2013, consumption should continue to be very good through the balance of the year. 

Finally, should this crop year actually turn out to be the ‘on-year’ crop (which would appear to be the case), buyers need to make sure that they have booked enough product to get them through the fall. This is not a year to be caught short, especially if you use large halves.