The final 2020-2021 orange crop forecast for the São Paulo and West-Southwest Minas Gerais citrus belt was released today by Fundecitrus and its cooperators. Brazil’s orange crop forecast is 268.63 million 90-pound boxes. This represents a decrease of 6.65% (19.13 million boxes) from the first crop forecast of the season published in May 2020.
Brazil’s 2020-2021 orange crop is 30.55% smaller than the 2019-2020 crop. This is a record crop loss for all the years in which the crop suffered the physiological effects of the negative biennial production cycle of orange trees since the beginning of the historical series in 1988.
Total 2020-2021 orange production included:
- 47 million boxes of Hamlin, Westin and Rubi early-season varieties
- 13.85 million boxes of Valencia Americana, Seleta and Pineapple early-season varieties
- 81.45 million boxes of Pera Rio mid-season variety
- 91.95 million boxes of Valencia and Valencia Folha Murcha late-season varieties
- 34.38 million boxes of the Natal late-season variety
One of the reasons for the substantial crop loss is that orange trees started flowering in the spring of 2019, when reserves were lower because they had been used in the previous crop season when there was a significant yield increase. Decreased reserves led to a significant reduction in the number of fruits per tree this season, a phenomenon known as alternate bearing.
Another reason for the smaller crop is the strong negative influence of the climate throughout the season. Adverse climate conditions started as early as 2019, in the months of September and October, with an Indian summer and high temperatures that impaired the setting of newly formed fruits. This resulted in a lower concentration of oranges from the main bloom. During fruit development, drought and heat became more intense due to the climate event La Niña and other simultaneous phenomena, such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.
Survey results showed a significant rise in the number of dead trees and an increase in missing trees in the citrus belt. In addition, fruit drop rates were up and fruit size weights were down.
See the final 2020-2021 forecast report here.
The first orange crop forecast of Brazil’s 2021-2022 season is scheduled to be announced on May 27.