A popular option that Georgia pecan producers are utilizing to combat low prices is to put them in storage in hopes of improved prices in the future.
However, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells cautions growers who take this approach.
“That’s most of what I hear taking place. I haven’t heard a lot (of pecans) over the last (couple of weeks) being sold at the offers they were getting. There was a little here and there but not much. The issue that I see with that is I see no sign of things getting better, even holding it,” Wells said. “If they hold it there’s a risk of having this problem continue on into next year when we’re likely to have as much as we have now.”
South Georgia farmer Randy Hudson said prices are anywhere from 30% to 50% less than what they’ve seen the last three years. Prices are the lowest they’ve been in the last 20 years, while expenses remain high.
The depressed market also comes amid a bumper crop across the Southeast. Instead of giving in to low prices, buyers are taking the wait-and-see approach.
“Putting them into cold storage and holding them has always been the thing growers will do when prices have bottomed out like this, but back when that worked, we didn’t have to worry about Mexico’s production. We didn’t have to worry about South Africa’s crop coming off in May and June,” Wells said. “There’s a very narrow window there that you’re just hoping that the demand for pecans goes up during that time.
“I don’t know when to expect the price to get any better.”