R.L.”Pete“ Turner May 15, 2007
WALNUT MARKET/CROP REPORT
The Walnut Marketing Board announced the April shipments at 22,732 inshell equivalent tons, almost the same number as last year. Inshell shipments were 0.55 million pounds, 1.6 million pounds less than last April. Shelled shipments were 19.3 million pounds, 1.5 million pounds more than last year. Total inshell equivalent year to date shipments were 299,269 tons; 4,618 tons less than last year.
In addition, the California Walnut March 31, 2007 inventories were well below expectations. The inventory for Inshell was 15.0 million pounds; the lowest since 1998. Last year we had 24.7 million pounds. The shelled inventory (based on 42.9 shell out rate) was only 104.1 million pounds; the lowest tonnage since 2000. Last year we had 118.2 million pounds.
Again, to me, these numbers show that the “shellout rate” will be well below the 42.9 forecast and we will most likely see one of the lowest carry-ins in recent history. Currently, my guess is 52,000 tons, 14,000 below last years very low carry-in.
We are now starting to receive early reports on the 2007 crop and it does not look promising. Early speculations from growers are reporting low sets of “nutlets” in all three regions for Chandler’s and Serr’s seem to be down the Visalia area.
However, caution should be used on early crop estimates as they have a history of being incorrect.
The inshell market is dead with very little business being done because of low inventories. The last Jumbo Hartley sales that I am aware of was $1.15 for Jumbo Hartley’s with Large Hartley’s at $1.10.
The Shelled market remains firm and trading activity has also dropped of due to availability. However, Light Halves and Pieces have been trading at $3.20 and Combination Halves and Pieces at $3.05. Baker material has been on either side of $2.50. Medium and Small material is $0.05 to $0.20 higher than the larger product (Halves and Pieces).
Because of the current inventory situation and the not so encouraging early reports on the 2007 crop, I believe we may have some serious challenges meeting future demands. In any event, I hope that the walnut market will continue to have discipline and maintain a reasonable forward market program.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments……