Wednesday, October 31, 2007

R.L. “Pete” Turner October 31, 2007


The Walnut Marketing Board announced the September shipments at 22,594 inshell equivalent tons; about the same as last year. Inshell shipments were 6.9 million pounds, compared to 5.9 million pounds last September. Shelled shipments were 16.4 million pounds, 0.4 million pounds less than last year. Total inshell equivalent year to date shipments are 39,984 tons; 280 tons more than last year to date shipments.

It is still a little early to make a good crop prediction but most in the industry believe the crop is coming in short of the 320,000 tons official forecast. The early varieties as well as the Hartley’s seem to be coming in close to the forecast. However, packers and growers are reporting that Chandlers are coming in short of the official state forecast. Based on the current information and input from the grower/packers I would have to guess the crop is closer to 300,000 tons than the original 320,000 ton estimate.

However, the quality of the crop appears be well above average with very little insect or sunburn damage. The Chandlers have great color as well as the Serr’s, Vina’s and Hartley’s. Most are reporting that the Howard’s are darker than normal, but are above average in edible yield.

As expected, empty pipe lines put a heavy demand for early shipments causing the market to strengthen rapidly. The early opening on Light Halves & Pieces started out at $3.05 range and quickly jumped to $3.35. Inshell Jumbo opened at $1.20 and went to $1.35 when Diamond opened their price two days later. Shelled material took another jump when they opened LHP at $3.80. The market quickly followed.

The current market on Jumbo Hartley’s is between $1.50 and $1.55 with Chandler LHP offering at $3.90. Because of the shortage of small material, Medium and Small Pieces are trading $0.15 to $0.25 above the Halves and Pieces. Topping Pieces is well above the $4 levels.

Because of the sudden strengthen of the market; it is difficult to determine where it may go over the next several months. However, if the crop continues to come up short, I do not believe the market will weaken, in fact, it may get firmer as we get closer to the holidays.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.


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