Allen Morris, owner of Morris Agribusiness Services, says Hurricane Irma will have a huge impact on future orange production in Florida. He explains that Irma caused extensive tree defoliation, which will prevent trees from setting a full crop.
He projects an orange crop of 45 to 50 million boxes in the 2018-19 season, and a crop of 60 million boxes in 2019-20, when leaves have regrown.
Morris assumes that trees with spinach genes, which appear to be highly tolerant of HLB, will be available to plant in 2019. He offers two scenarios for orange production in 10 years. One is 44 million boxes, which he says is “not enough economic impact to support an infrastructure of processing and caretaking and other things … that puts the industry in a very precarious state.”
The other scenario is for 68-69 million boxes by the 2027-28 season if good HLB management practices have a positive impact. He says those good practices include management of soil pH, ensuring soil moisture, higher density plantings, and use of bactericides.
“We’re only replanting 48 percent of our trees that are lost every year, so there’s a net tree loss,” Morris adds. “And you also have growers whose yields are down around 100 boxes an acre; they’re milking the groves and then they’re going to sell them or convert them to blueberries or peaches or something.”
Morris made the predictions during a presentation at the International Citrus Business Conference held in March.
Hear more from Morris:
Share this Post