Featured Produce News

U.S. Pecan Industry at a Glance

December 04, 2014

Pecan Harvest Techniques, Statistics and Reports  

 

2013 Crop Year, Pecan

Value

$ 460.4 million

 

Production

266.3 million lbs

(120,805 MT)

Domestic Consumption/For Processing

250.2 million lbs

(113,500 MT)

Exports

120.8 million lbs

(54,807 MT)

Imports

104.7 million lbs

(47,502 MT)

Data Source: FAS, USDA; NASS, USDA

 

U.S. Fresh Apple Trade

Click on U.S. Pecan Industry Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from FAS, USDA; NASS, USDA

 

Pecan Industry

The United States grows approximately 80 percent of the world’s pecans. Although domestic pecan consumption has trended downward, growing export demand has led to an uptick in both production and exports in 2011/2012. This is in part due to growth in international demand for pecans in nations such as China.  Hong Kong is the top export destination for U.S. pecans, taking in $112 million worth in 2013. Georgia is the top producer of pecans among U.S. states, harvesting around 100 million pounds in 2012. Georgia was followed by New Mexico (69 million lbs.), Texas (55 million lbs.), Oklahoma (25 million lbs.) and Arizona (20 million lbs.).  The U.S. imports its pecans almost exclusively from Mexico, bringing in almost 104 million lbs of Mexican pecans in 2013.

 

 

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market

Click on 2013 U.S. Pecan Exports Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from U.S. ITC

 

A drop in production coupled with expanding international demand 2009 – 2011 led to high pecan prices and a sharp increase in production as growers scrambled to take advantage of favorable market conditions. This increase in production led to the lower prices in 2012 and 2013.

 

 

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market

Click on U.S. Pecan Price and Production Comparison to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from NASS, USDA

 

Planting Information

A grafted pecan tree starts producing a crop, depending on the variety of the tree, ranging from four to ten years and requires four to seven years to reach full production.  Pecan trees thrive in temperate and sub-tropical regions, with dry conditions being critical to the pecan’s pollination.  Pecans can tolerate both high and low temperatures, although late spring or early autumn frosts can affect the yield of the crop.

Harvesting

Harvesting pecans is a labor intensive process.  A machine is used to shake the trees, causing the pecans to fall.  The pecans are then swept into windrows for a harvester to come pick up the pecans, along with a considerable amount of debris.  After the debris is separated, the pecans are dried, graded, and stored for consumption.

 

 

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market

Click on U.S. Pecan Improved vs. Native Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from NASS, USDA

Improved vs. Native Pecans

Pecans are native to the United States and, therefore, grow naturally in several regions. With the advancement of breeding technologies, many orchards have opted to utilize an “Improved” breed as opposed to the native trees. The “Improved” trees are more compact and consistent, but lack the genetic diversity of the native variety. This diversity has allowed native varieties to adapt to their environment in ways that the improved variety cannot, making Improved trees a more expensive investment. The vast majority of today’s pecan production value, however, is derived from the improved variety.

 

More Information on Pecans

The following countries’ GAIN reports concerning pecans have been released this year:
Taiwan – U.S. Baking Ingredients Grow in Popularity
Turkey – Introducing Pecans to Turkey

New Mexico Is Reaping a Bounty in Pecans as Other States Struggle
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/us/new-mexico-reaps-pecan-bounty-as-other-states-struggle.html?_r=0

LS Ag Center - Frequently Asked Questions http://text.lsuagcenter.com/en/our_offices/research_stations/Pecan/
Features/Pecan_FAQs/index_seriespage-1.htm

Pecan industry eyes marketing order
http://www.thegrower.com/news/Pecan-industry-eyes-marketing-order-279310102.html

Pecan industry set for big growth, eyes India
http://www.thegrower.com/news/Pecan-industry-set-for-big-growth-eyes-India-238640951.html?source=related

University of Georgia Pecan Enterprise Cost Analysis (2002)
http://www.ces.uga.edu/Agriculture/agecon/budgets/printed/pecpub.pdf

 

Pecan Growers Associations

Alabama Pecan Growers Association
California Pecan Growers Association
Georgia Pecan Growers Association
New Mexico Pecan Growers Association
North Carolina Pecan Growers Association
Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association
Texas Pecan Growers Association

 

 

The Federal Register

Crop Profiles, Harvesting and Trade

Agency and Congressional Hearings

Congressional Legislation

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