Grapefruit: Production Down, Imports Up

Ernie NeffGrapefruit

Florida led the United States in grapefruit production in the 2020-21 season. Sunshine State growers produced a combined 174,000 tons for the fresh and processed markets. California came in second with 156,000 tons, while Texas was third at 96,000 tons. This production information was recently reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

Texas grapefruit production declined 46% from last season and is less than half (49%) of the volume forecast at the outset of the 2020-21 season. This reduction was largely due to Winter Storm Uri, which touched down in Texas in mid-February 2021. The storm occurred at a time when less than half of the Texas grapefruit crop had been harvested. Citrus took the biggest freeze hit from Winter Storm Uri of any agricultural commodity in Texas, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service reported soon after the storm. AgriLife Extension estimated citrus crop losses of at least $230 million. Learn more about Uri’s impact on Texas citrus.

Lower production quantities in Florida compared to last season can be attributed to the ongoing effects of HLB disease, with grapefruit-bearing acreage decreasing in Florida by 16% compared to the prior year.

Lower production levels of grapefruit in California this season — a decrease of 17% (800,000 boxes) — can mostly be attributed to prolonged drought in the San Joaquin Valley.

As might be expected given historically low domestic production levels in the 2020-21 season, imports of fresh grapefruit from September 2020 through July 2021 were up by 31% from the same period last year. Exports were down by 17%. Despite these changes in trade from last season, total domestic availability is 17% below last season at only 1.41 pounds per capita. With the decrease in total supply, average prices rose with an on-tree equivalent price of $25.19 per box in 2020-21 compared with $17.96 in 2019-20.

See the full USDA report.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service

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