Hurricane Irma Impact on Florida Orange Production

oranges

orangeThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) included forecasts of the United States and Florida 2017-2018 orange production in the Crop Production report released Oct. 12, 2017.  The report does not directly forecast the impact of Hurricane Irma on the 2017-2018 production. Although it is difficult to know the exact impact on the potential crop production, the approximate impact can be implied because of the timing of the storm.  The tree inventory survey work was complete and fruit per tree survey work was near planned completion. No additional fruit per tree work was completed after the storm made landfall.  The initial measurements of fruit size and the amount of fruit dropped conducted on selected tree limbs occurred soon after the storm.

The greatest impact from Hurricane Irma appears to be increased fruit drop due largely to the high winds. The fruit size and drop survey revealed a much higher percentage fruit drop than in previous seasons. The measured proportion of this season’s fruit drop can be compared to recent years to assess the approximate impact of the storm. For example, recalculating crop size using the most recent five-year average percentage fruit drop rather than the October 2017 survey-indicated percentage fruit drop would suggest a Florida orange production total of 75.5 million boxes as compared to the published forecast of 54.0 million boxes. Other fruit drop and/or size assumptions would generate different assumed production totals and implied effect from the devastating storm. Current season components are on page three of the following publication located at www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/Citrus_Forecast/2017-18/cit1017.pdf. Historic data on size and drop can be found at www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/Miscellaneous/2017Strikeout.pdf

by the Agricultural Statistics Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.