Pecan prices are devastatingly low for Georgia producers. But how low are they compared to what farmers are used to this time of year? South Georgia pecan farmer Randy Hudson puts it in perspective.
“We’re seeing prices anywhere from 30% to 50% less than what they’ve been the last three years,” Hudson said. “It makes a big difference. Of course, the expense of growing pecans is a very critical issue here. The expense of growing pecans has not been any cheaper, although, we have seen prices on the fuel side and there have been some prices that have gone down in other areas.
“The production costs are still pretty high. Fixed and variable costs are running over $2,000 an acre. You’ve got a lot of expense in pecans. These low prices make it very difficult to be able to pay your bills.”
USDA Pecan Report
Following the release of the USDA Pecan Report that was released last Tuesday, prices ranged anywhere from 70 cents to 75 cents per pound for Stuart varieties to Sumners that were selling for $1.30 to $1.41 per pound (nut count 50-60) with meat yield 52% to 54%. Even Desirable varieties that did not have to overcome heavy scab disease pressure this season were selling for just $1.35 to $1.40 per pound.
The next USDA Pecan Report will be released this Tuesday. Growers will be able to see if prices are stabilizing or continuing to freefall, which is a fear of University of Georgia Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells. It’s especially disheartening since this is one of Georgia’s best pecan crops in recent memory.
Big Crop for Georgia
“The reality is Georgia has a really big crop. The demand over the last few years has been reduced by the fact that the China tariffs increased to a point that China consumption has gone well down on pecans. We’re in a cycle where we may see reduced prices until we get consumption back up to a point that it would support higher prices,” Hudson said.
“I personally think that after this election settles out, we may see a little firmness move into the market, I hope so. I think a lot of the bigger growers are counting on it. For the most part, there’s not a lot of nuts moving right now other than yard crop and maybe some small growers that don’t have the input costs of the bigger growers. There’s not a large volume of pecans that’s actually being traded right now. There’s a lot of pecans being held.”