Southeast pecan farmers should be encouraged by market prices as harvest season gets under way across the region. According to Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist, prices for Pawnee varieties are up from what was originally projected, as are Stuarts.
Plus, there is renewed buying interest from China, which has traditionally been the biggest buyer of U.S. pecans.
“I’m hearing that there definitely is interest from China. They do definitely seem like they’re going to buy and possibly might buy quite a bit, which would help tremendously,” Wells said. “I don’t know that it’s going to help bring prices up all that much. I hope it does. At the very least it should stabilize prices some.
“China wants to buy but they are definitely price sensitive at this point with everything going on. That’s why I say I don’t know that it’s going to make prices go up a lot, but it should stabilize it.”
Wells said that Pawnees, which are typically the first variety to be harvested every year, are selling anywhere from $2.30 to $2.40 per pound, which is quite the improvement from the $2.10 mark that was discussed before the start of harvest season.
“If (producers) have Pawnees, then yeah they probably need to go ahead and sell those. Once the other nuts start coming in, the price of Pawnees usually start to drop some,” Wells said. “So, I would go ahead and start to get rid of those.”
They’re not the only variety selling better than expected, either.
“I’m also hearing a little bit of encouragement on Stuarts. I was told a couple of weeks ago that we may see Stuarts up around $1.50, $1.60, which is a lot better than the $1.20 or $1.30 we were hearing a couple of months ago. So that’s good,” Wells added.