With some certainty, Georgia pecan producers are expecting a bumper crop this year. What remains uncertain is the market price farmers will receive at harvest.
As growers are currently harvesting Pawnees with other varieties expected to be harvested next month, there is still an unpredictability regarding the pecan market, according to Phil Croft, manager of the Hudson Pecan Company.
“Right now, we don’t 100% know this market trend. The only thing we can base it off of is what South Africa on the in-shell market sold into China. Those numbers are somewhere between $4.80 and $4.50 a kilogram, which relates back to $2.05 to $2.25 a pound delivered into China. That’s working it back to the grower level on a premium nut, $1.80, $1.90 a pound for our premium Desirables and qualities of that nature,” Croft said. “If China will come back in this thing and buy strong, I think that may be the bottom of the market, in my opinion. Nobody wants to hear that but at least it’s a starting point, and hopefully, it’s the bottom of it that where we can go up from there.
“I feel like we have an opportunity here for this market to increase pretty quickly if all the ducks line up.”
China is the biggest buyer of U.S. pecans. But the relationship between the two countries has been strained recently with the coronavirus pandemic and the trade war that involved tariffs being place on goods by both countries. They established a Phase One Agreement where China would increase its purchases of agricultural products, but it still lags in its pursuit of meeting those purchasing goals.
China’s role as a pecan purchaser cannot be understated.
“They have been some great customers for many years. We hope that will work out. We hope that they will buy Ag products,” Croft said. “We saw a report the other day that the almond market is booming in China and it’s because of lower prices. That’s maybe what it takes to get the market picked back up over there with some cheaper prices initially. Hopefully, it’ll turn around into a positive.”