Tuesday, July 13, 2010

R.L. “Pete” Turner July 12, 2010



The June shipments of 22,810 tons (inshell equivalent) finally hit my forecast and if my next two months forecast of 52,000 tons are close, the industry will carry in less than 20,000 tons into the 2010 crop. This means that even if the crop is 30,000 tons higher than last year, the total available inventory will be several tons less.

California Walnut Shipments Recap (000)

Month (June) 2008/09 Year to Date 2009/10 Year to Date Percent

Inshell (lbs.) 3,688 171,540 1,433 204,381 19.4%

Shelled (lbs.) 26,332 234,311 19,265 280,945 19.9%

Total Tons
(Inshell eqv.) 30,781 343,255 22,810 424,375 23.6%

As you can see, year to date shipments have reached 424,375 tons vs. 343,255 tons at this time last year, up 24%. The percentage will decrease as I expect forward shipments (July/August) to be less than last years.

At this date, the 2010 walnut crop looks very good, not only in tonnage and nut size, but in quality as well. During the past few weeks, I have toured (and interviewed growers) in five growing regions (Stanislaus, Linden, Sacramento, Yuba City and Chico) and the census is, a large crop, good nut sizes (except Howards) and excellent quality. Surveying of these areas has reinforced the outlook on the crop size, especially with the tonnage conditions observed in the Chico area. However, every grower cautioned that we still have two months to go and weather could have a negative impact on all of the above.

The Packers will come out with their “subjective” estimate on July 27th, and based on history, the “subjective” estimate usually comes close to the “objective” crop estimate issued by the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) the first week of September.

As reported earlier, most of California’s row and tree crop harvest have been later than normal; and most walnut growers believe the start of the harvest will be 7 to 10 days late.

Inshell shipments to the Middle East (Turkey, U.A.E, Egypt, and Israel etc.) have reached 60.7 million pounds 55 percent more than last year to date. The same can be said for China/Hong Kong with 43 million pounds this year vs. 27 million last year.

The big question is…will they be buyers this year? If they are, and my opinion they will be, we could see a heavy early demand not only for Hartley’s, Chandler and Howards, but for early varieties as well. Reports of some early sales activity helps support this position.


Inshell business has been very quite due to available inventories and to my knowledge, very few new sales have taken place in the past few months.

As expected, Shelled prices have weakened somewhat with Chandlers Light Halves and Pieces in the $3.85 range, with Regular Light Halves and Pieces trading at 3.65. Combinations Light Halves and Pieces seem to be firm at $3.40 with Medium and Small material slightly less than the Halves and Pieces prices. The market on Light Halves is being reported in the $4.60 range.

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


Photos taken June 29, 2010 Chico area.

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