Fundecitrus and its cooperators announced an update to Brazil’s 2020-2021 orange crop forecast on Sept. 10. The new figure for the São Paulo and West-Southwest Minas Gerais citrus belt is 286.72 million boxes. This is 0.36 percent less oranges than the initial forecast released in May, and 25.87 percent less oranges than the 2019-2020 crop.
The forecast represents one of the most severe crop losses in the last 10 years.
This year’s orange harvest in Brazil started later due to a larger amount of fruit from the second bloom and did not pick up until mid-June.
The average orange weight for the early varieties was higher than initially estimated, thanks to the rain that fell in May and June, right before harvest. However, rainfall accumulated for the four months since the beginning of the crop season, that is, from May to August, is 14 percent lower than normal.
In addition to scarcer rainfall in July and August, the forecast at the time of publication of this update called for no significant rains for the next 15 days. This water shortage in most of the citrus belt should inhibit the growth of oranges, which are expected to be lighter at harvest than the projected weight. Therefore, the sizes of oranges of the mid-season variety Pera Rio and of the late varieties Valencia and Valencia Folha Murcha are being revised and may be changed in future updates, depending on their average weight when harvest ends.
The projected fruit drop rate rose slightly from 17 to 17.30 percent. This adjustment is due to the increased fruit drop observed for the varieties Hamlin, Westin and Rubi. Fruit drop increased with the returning rains associated with high winds in June, following two drier months that triggered water shortage and fruit wilting.
Information for this update was obtained from the monitoring survey started in May on 1,200 plots that are no longer visited when fruit harvest is complete. Other data used was size of fruit received throughout the crop season by orange juice companies, including Citrosuco, Cutrale and Louis Dreyfus.
See the full forecast update for Brazil here.