R.L. “Pete” Turner
The official 2010 walnut crop tonnage has been established at 502,000 tons, 8,000 tons less than the official estimate of 510,000 tons (-1.6%). This is more than most industry leaders first believed, but with-in the later estimate range as the crop receipts kept extending out with later than normal deliveries.
It’s too early to get an analysis on the 2011 crop but the orchards have received above average rains and the chill hours have been adequate.
The major question is… when will the trees shut down and rest for awhile. The 2010 crop was the third straight year of record tonnage and I have to believe it’s not just the new bearing acres that were responsible for the heavy production. As an example, the 2010 Hartley crop reached 70,000 tons, which is the highest Hartley tonnage in over 10 years. It should also be noted that almost no new plantings of this variety have taken place in the past 20 years.
As previously reported, due to the below average nut size this year, the industry starting blending sizes in their In-shell packs (Hartley, Chandlers etc.) at the very start of the harvest. This proved to be successful, as it provided more In-shell tonnage for the market and the good news, it appeared to be acceptable by the buyers and their customers.
China/Hong Kong in-shell shipments have now reached 86.2 million pounds, compared to 32.7 million pounds last year; an increase of 164 percent.
Turkey, who played catch up for awhile has now reached 49.2 million pounds of in-shell, which exceeds their last year “year to date” shipments by 4 million pounds.
Year to date in-shell shipments to Germany, Spain and Italy were 72.5 million pounds, surpassing last year “year to date” shipments by 7.9 million pounds (12%).
Even with the heavy shipments of in-shell shelling varieties (Chandler, Tulare’s, Howard’s), shelled shipments have held up and are only 1.2 million pounds behind last year’s shipments.
The in-shell equivalent tonnage shipped to date is 309,464 tons, 38,401 tons ahead of last year shipments (271,063 tons). This tells me that we have shipped 62 percent of the crop, which could make the 2010 crop carry-over about the same as last year (41,000 tons).
California Walnut Shipments Recap (000)
Month (Jan.) 2009/10 Year to Date 2010/11 Year to Date Percent
In-shell (lbs.) 10,924 181,233 23,070 255,107 40.8%
Shelled (lbs.) 25,547 159,514 25,819 158,262 -0.8.2%
Total Tons 34,361 271,063 41,212 309,464 14.2%
It is hard to tell if the market is active or not, as it may be a few buyers, asking a lot of packers for product. In any event, it has now become obvious that there will not be enough of California walnuts to satisfy the demands.
A few China/Hong Kong buyers are back now that their New Year celebration is over, but not sure how much volume is involved.
However, I can report that Europe, South America as well as the US market continues to be active.
Prices on Light Halves and Pieces are in the $4.30 range with Combo material about $0.15 less. In shell Jumbo/Large Chandlers are north of $2.00 with Tulare’s and Howard’s $0.05- $0.10 less. Jumbo/Large Hartley’s is around $1.65.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.