U.S. Citrus Crop Forecast Takes a Tumble

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast

© Florida Department of Citrus

Florida’s Valencia orange crop projection tumbled 12% in the April 9 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop forecast, to 29 million boxes from 33 million boxes in March. The USDA added 200,000 boxes, or 1%, to Florida’s non-Valencia tally, bringing non-Valencias to 22.7 million boxes. In total, Florida oranges dipped to 51.7 million boxes, down 7% from March’s 55.5 million box projection.

The USDA reported that the fruit size of Florida Valencias is below average. Final Valencia fruit droppage, at 41 percent, is above the maximum and the highest in a series dating back to the 1960-61 season. The non-Valencia crop is essentially all harvested.

Florida’s grapefruit projection dropped 7%, from 4.6 million boxes to 4.3 million boxes. The full 300,000 box reduction was in red grapefruit, which fell from 3.9 million boxes in March to 3.6 million boxes. More than 98 percent of Florida’s grapefruit has been harvested.  

The Florida tangerine and tangelo forecast dropped 10% to 950,000 boxes.

The Texas citrus industry, hit by a hard freeze in February, showed the greatest citrus crop reductions. The Texas orange forecast declined from 1.5 million boxes in March to 1.05 million boxes. The Texas grapefruit forecast tumbled by more than half, from 5 million boxes in March to 2.4 million boxes.

Lemon forecasts decreased in Arizona, from 1.9 million boxes in March to 1.8 million boxes, and in California, from 24 million boxes to 22 million boxes.

There were no changes in the April forecast for Florida white grapefruit and California oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and tangelos.

See the full April forecast.

Mark your calendar for the next USDA citrus crop forecast of the 2020-21 season. It will be on Wednesday, May 12, at approximately 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time/9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. You will be able to hear the numbers on the Citrus Industry website as they are released from USDA.

Thank you to the 2020-21 citrus crop forecast sponsors: Aerobotics, Farm Credit of Florida, Labor Solutions, OrangeRX and TradeMark Nitrogen Corp.

Source: USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service

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