“Economic conditions are not as good in China this year as compared to last year. How this might affect pecan exports is hard to say. But there is also a growing trend for increased pecan production in Mexico. A lot of pecan trees from Southern New Mexico have been headed across the border where they are ramping up large orchards that can produce large yields,” he said.

“In addition, Australia and Brazil have increased pecan yields to compete in the global marketplace, so U.S. growers are going to soon see some fierce competition globally from growing international production,”

But Houghton does agree that the U.S. domestic market is strong and steadily growing.

“We’re seeing pecans being used in recipes and foods in non-traditional ways, and pecans have also qualified as a heart-healthy food, so demand is growing domestically as a result,” he said.

In addition, he says New Mexico’s first certified organic pecan crop is expected to roll out over the next two years and he sees a niche market for growers interested in taking advantage of the organic movement.

Houghton says he remains hopeful that New Mexico will produce between 45 million and 50 million pounds, smaller than Texas’ estimated 65 million pounds this year. Oklahoma is expected to yield between 10 million and 15 million pounds.

Houghton expects the retail price to be equal to or slightly less than last year’s average $9.00 a pound, and economist are predicting wholesale prices to hover near last year’s $2.65 a pound or slightly less depending on yields and global demand.