The 2017-2018 Florida all-orange forecast released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is 54 million boxes, 21 percent less than last season’s final production.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Florida Citrus Mutual both issued statements indicating they are concerned that the forecast did not accurately account for the full damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma.
Listen to the forecast:
The orange total includes 23 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason and Navel varieties) and 31 million boxes of Valencia oranges. The Navel orange forecast, at 600,000 boxes, accounts for 3 percent of the non-Valencia total.
The estimated number of bearing trees for all oranges is 48.9 million. Trees planted in 2014 and earlier are considered bearing this season. Fieldwork for the latest Commercial Citrus Inventory was completed in June 2017. Attrition rates were applied to the results to determine the number of bearing trees, which are used to weight and expand objective count data in the forecast model.
The citrus-growing region was drought-free at the start of the 2017-2018 citrus growing season. In January, the region started showing abnormally dry conditions. By February, the bloom had begun and was full in some areas. Other areas held off and showed only light and scattered bloom. In March, the southern citrus-growing area was in moderate drought conditions, while the northern area remained abnormally dry. During these times of dry weather, citrus groves required the use of irrigation systems. Temperatures were above average for the majority of the season. Precipitation returned for the summer months to keep all areas drought-free. In September, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida at Marco Island and went up through the western side of the citrus belt. The hurricane left some areas flooded and extremely wet.
The forecast of grapefruit production is 4.90 million boxes, 37 percent less than last season’s production. The total includes 900,000 boxes of white grapefruit and 4 million boxes of red grapefruit. All grapefruit bearing trees are estimated to be 3.56 million, down 6 percent from the previous season.
The white grapefruit forecast of 900,000 boxes is 39 percent less than last season’s production. The estimated number of bearing trees is down 13 percent from the previous season. The estimated fruit per tree is 396, a decrease of 4 percent from last season. Projected fruit size is slightly below average, requiring an estimated 112 pieces of fruit to fill an 85-pound box. Projected droppage at 53 percent would surpass the 43 percent recorded in the 2016-2017 season.
The red grapefruit forecast of 4 million boxes is 36 percent less than last season’s final production. The estimated number of bearing trees is down 4 percent from the previous season. The estimated fruit per tree is 385, a decrease of 3 percent from last season. Projected fruit size is slightly below average, requiring an estimated 117 pieces of fruit to fill an 85-pound box. Projected droppage at 54 percent would surpass the 40 percent recorded in the 2015-2016 season.
Tangerines and Tangelos
The forecast for the tangerine and tangelos is 1 million boxes, 38 percent less than last season’s production. This forecast number includes all certified tangerine and tangelo varieties.
See the numbers for Florida, California and Texas here:
USDA/NASS Citrus Maturity Test and Fruit Size form
The November USDA citrus crop forecast will be Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. You will be able to listen to the forecast numbers here on CitrusIndustry.net.
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