In a well-managed orchard it can take 4-6 years, but it depends on the weather. Even the most experienced growers can’t control the weather.
If there are no serious weather events in the early years of a walnut tree’s life, it will begin to produce in 4 years. Serious weather events (drought, sunburn, night frosts, hail, etc.) will reduce the harvest of a mature walnut tree, but can actually damage or even kill a young sapling.
After a tree begins to produce its first harvests, it will take another 4 years to reach maturity and reach its maximum production. This is a special time in the life of a walnut tree, since each new harvest can double or triple the production of the previous one.
In 7-10 years, the new Orchard will have reached its maximum production and will provide a lifetime of production for its owner.
Yes, mature walnut farmland can be extremely profitable. A one acre plot of walnut farmland can generate up to $12,000 a year for its owner ($24,000 per hectare). Compare that to a typical $300 per acre profit ($750 per hectare) for growing corn or soybeans. There is an exponential difference.
Why don’t all farmers grow walnuts if they are so much more profitable? Not everyone can afford the wait. Orchards take a long time to become profitable and most farmers need to earn an income every year.
An orchard owner needs to be extremely well-capitalized and willing to put in years of work before finally seeing the fruits of their labor. Most farmers and investors want to see a return this year; they are not willing to wait.
All things come to those who wait.
– Violet Fane, writer & poet
Walnuts are the leading tree nut consumed in rapidly developing medium income countries (especially China), with a 27% market share. In the last 10 years world walnut consumption has grown by more than 50%, about 5 times the growth rate of the world population.
The almond, for example, fetches a similar price, but produces less than half the yield of the walnut per acre/hectare, making it much less profitable over the long haul than a mature walnut orchard.
The pecan fetches a higher price, but can only be marketed to buyers in North America, with the U.S. and Mexico accounting for over 85% of world consumption, leaving growers at the mercy of US/Mexico trade policy.
The walnut on the other hand enjoys large markets throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, along with North & South America. No single country accounts for more than 40% of walnut consumption, shielding walnut growers from the effects of tariffs and trade conflicts.
Although no one would consider cutting down a producing orchard, after 60-100 years as walnut trees age, they may begin to reduce their annual production. The walnut tree, however, is also highly valued as timber. The value of walnut lumber can easily equal the profit of 10 harvests, giving the orchard’s heirs access to a large amount of capital should they decide to exit the business in the future.
There are a number of advantages to growing walnuts in the Southern Hemisphere in general and Mendoza in particular. Since 93% of walnuts are grown in the Northern Hemisphere, growers in the Southern Hemisphere are paid more for their harvest since supplies of northern walnuts begin to dwindle around the March/April Southern Hemisphere harvest.
While northern growers scramble to be the first to market and avoid the supply glut, southern growers face no such pressure. In March/April, walnut buyers prefer to buy the fresh Southern Hemisphere harvest over Northern Hemisphere walnuts that have been stored for months in freezers.
Mendoza’s climate is ideal for walnut production. Walnuts need 700-1300 hours of cold sub-45°F (7°C) temperatures to reach their full potential. With an average of 1300 hours over the last decade, even future climate change leaves Mendoza as a prime planting location for walnut growers.
Mendoza has an abundant water supply as well. With an abundant aquifer at a depth of just 300 ft. (100 m.), walnut growers have ample access to the large quantities of water needed by a walnut orchard.
Chandler Orchards is Argentina’s leading managed walnut grower. With more than 60 investor-growers and 640+ acres (260+ hectares) planted, we have a proven business model that generates value for our investors.
What does managed walnut farmland mean for investors?
- You receive walnut farmland inside our 5000 acre (2000 hectare) master development. We sell you the land with access to wells, electricity, and a modern drip irrigation system, all included at no additional charge.
- Your orchard is planted and cultivated by a professional team of agricultural engineers with decades of experience in walnut growing.
- We are financially responsible for the success of your orchard during the first critical season. Any trees that fail – for whatever the reason – are replaced at no additional charge.
- Your small orchard achieves the same economies of scale as the largest corporate growers. All 5000 acres (2000 hectares) share the same team & equipment and contribute equally towards the overall costs.
- You do not need to buy equipment or hire employees. Monthly costs are prorated equally among all investors and are budgeted at just $120 per acre plot ($240 per hectare plot).
- At harvest time, you receive the best price for your walnuts, since your production is sold together with that of other investors. Chandler Orchards’ investors are able to export their production to the highest paying international markets, while small independent orchards can only sell to local walnut handlers & bundlers.
- Its as easy to exit the investment as it is to enter. While normal farmland can take years to sell, should you ever need to sell your orchard, we will sell your plot within a few short months to our pool of investors for a small 2% commission.