Mark Hudson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA/NASS), reported the March forecast for Florida oranges is unchanged from last month at 45 million boxes. Non-Valencias are at 19 million boxes and Valencias are at 26 million boxes.
The Row Count Survey, conducted on Feb. 26-27, showed 99 percent of the early-midseason rows and 96 percent of the Navel rows are harvested. Current fruit size for Valencias is below average and is projected to be below average at harvest, requiring 237 pieces to fill a 90-pound box.
The forecast for grapefruit production is unchanged at 4.65 million boxes, with white grapefruit at 850,000 boxes and red grapefruit at 3.8 million boxes.
The forecast for tangerine and tangelo production has increased 20,000 boxes to 880,000 boxes. If realized, this production level will be 46 percent less than last season’s production.
March 2018 Florida citrus crop forecast:
Hudson explains why the Florida specialty crop citrus forecast increased slightly:
USDA/NASS Citrus Maturity Test Results and Fruit Size Form
Full U.S. citrus crop forecast:
For California, the March Valencia orange forecast dropped 1.5 million boxes to 9.5 million boxes. This forecast was based on the results of the 2017-18 Valencia Orange Objective Measurement Survey, which was conducted from Jan. 12 to Feb. 23 by USDA/NASS Pacific Region in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Estimated fruit set per tree, fruit diameter, trees per acre, bearing acreage and oranges per carton were used in the statistical models estimating production.
The season has had mostly dry weather with occasional periods of cold and even freezing temperatures. Measurements indicated slightly above-average fruit size and higher than the previous year fruit set. Survey data indicated an average fruit set per tree of 524, a 14 percent increase from the previous year, but below the five-year average of 590. The average March 1 diameter was 2.585 inches, slightly above the five-year average of 2.536.
Mark Hudson explains the decrease of 1.5 million boxes in the California Valencia citrus crop:
USDA/NASS California Report for March 2018
The next USDA citrus crop forecast will be on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at approximately 12 noon Eastern Daylight Savings Time/9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Tune in to the Citrus Industry website to hear the numbers as they are released from USDA/NASS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
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