Elizabeth Steger, president of Citrus Consulting International, has forecast Florida’s 2020-21 orange crop at 62 million boxes. That is 8.35 percent fewer oranges than the 67.65 million boxes the state produced last season. [See the final 2019-20 season forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) here.]
Steger has been forecasting the size of Florida’s orange crop prior to the initial USDA forecast for many years. The first USDA forecast for the 2020-21 season is scheduled for Oct. 9.
“We are forecasting 27 million boxes for early-midseason (oranges), including 0.75 million boxes of navels, and 35 million boxes of Valencia,” Steger stated. Last season, Florida produced 29.65 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges and 38 million boxes of Valencias.
“The estimate of boxes per tree is as follows: Early-mids without the navels is 1.38, and Valencia (is) 1.17 boxes per tree,” Steger said.
“There are two significant issues this season, the reduction of fruit per tree in both varieties, which is the determinant factor for a lower crop,” Steger stated. “The other factor is the multi-bloom that can affect the final fruit size. The greening disease also affects the fruit size. This lower fruit per tree is probably related to the low cycle production which happened in Brazil this season.”
“The number of bearing trees has decreased by .53 percent,” Steger added. “The early-mids are down 2.73 percent and the Valencia is up .96 percent. The final crop will depend on how the drop and fruit size develop. Our estimate ranges between 59 and 65 million boxes.”
“This year will be remembered for the pandemic, disrupting everyone’s life,” Steger stated. “Our visit to the groves was limited this year, but we were able to see the multi-blooms throughout the groves.”
“The trendline in tree productivity is down,” Steger concluded. “It is imperative that the government creates incentives for growers to do massive new plantings in exchange for the old weak trees. We need a strong citrus industry to help the growers and the economy in our state.”
Source: Citrus Consulting International
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