Citrus acreage in Georgia continues to increase. While it didn’t double like it did in 2020, it still increased by 50%, says Jake Price, University of Georgia Lowndes County Extension coordinator.
During a citrus growers’ summer update meeting on Aug. 25 in Lowndes County, Price said that Georgia’s citrus acreage has ballooned to 2,700 acres in 46 counties. The state had just 1,000 acres in 2019. The steady incline is expected to stall sooner rather than later, though.
“I kind of feel like it’s going to taper off a little bit,” Price predicted. “That might not be a bad thing until we figure out what we can do with the fruit we’ve got. They’re going to have to find a home for a lot of this stuff. It’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to happen out there.”
A potential for excess fruit at the market this year could be pivotal for Georgia citrus production. Price said a larger amount of citrus fruit should start coming on the market this year, based on 2017 plantings. That could create concerns among growers and packers of where to sell their crop after it has been harvested.
“I would say most of the trees out there, maybe 70%, have not produced fruit yet. We’ve got a lot of trees that were planted in 2017 that are just now starting to produce fruit,” Price said. “They’re going to come in big this year and the next few years. Meanwhile, all the trees that are there are going to increase their production, too, because they’re getting bigger. They’re going to yield more.”
About 85% of Georgia’s citrus acres are satsuma mandarins. Satsumas are cold-tolerant and can withstand temperatures as low as 15 degrees. They’re also seedless and easy to peel.
Get more information about citrus production in Georgia.
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