Fundecitrus and its cooperators announced on Sept. 10 that Brazil’s 2021-22 orange crop forecast has decreased to 267.87 million boxes. This is a decrease of 8.9% from May’s initial forecast of 294.17 million boxes.
While Brazil was initially expecting a larger orange crop this season, the updated forecast is less than the 268.63 million boxes Brazil produced in 2020-2021.
The main reason for the lower forecast is climatic conditions. The Fundecitrus report points to “the most severe water crisis ever to hit Brazil for the last 91 years. The combination of this drought never before experienced by citriculture and successive frosts in July culminated in a gradual crop decline that has been seen as harvests progress and disclose totally atypical figures. Field surveys also show results other than expected for this time of the year for orange planted areas yet to be harvested. In general, oranges are excessively small, and early fruit drop reaches one of its highest rates.”
According to the report, rainfall shortage is strongly affecting rainfed groves, especially the more densely planted ones with rootstocks less tolerant to water stress. “Even irrigated groves, which comprise more than 30% of the total citrus belt area, are suffering from the drought because in many cases there is not enough water to fully meet its demand by those groves,” states the report.
The average size projected in May, of 259 fruits to fill a box, which corresponds to an average orange weight of 5.56 ounces, is now updated to 283 fruits per box, equivalent to a weight of 5.09 ounces. This is 14.7% lower than fruit sizes in the last five crop seasons.
The projected average fruit drop rate has increased from 20.5% to 20.9%. This is due to intense water deficit, frosts, and pest and disease pressure.
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