The second 2021-2022 orange crop forecast update for Brazil’s São Paulo and West-Southwest Minas Gerais citrus belt was released on Dec. 10 by Fundecitrus and its cooperators. The orange crop is projected at 264.14 million boxes. The crop size is down 1.39% from September’s forecast update and continues in a downward trend. Since May, the crop has decreased a total of 30 million boxes, or 10.21%, from the initial forecast for the season.
According to the forecast report, “Adverse climate conditions this season, including the most severe drought in almost a century and successive frosts, stunted orange growth and increased premature fruit drop.” Average accumulated rainfall from May to November 2021 in the citrus belt was 31% below the normal amount. Drought severity only started to decrease in October, the one month since the beginning of the crop season when rainfall was above the historical average.
The forecast report indicates that harvest had reached 65% completion through mid-November, despite being slower than average due to both adverse weather conditions and a higher amount of fruit from the second bloom. Harvest is complete for the early varieties (Hamlin, Westin and Rubi).
The average fruit size projected in September 2021, of 283 fruits to fill a box, which corresponds to an average orange weight of 5.09 ounces, has been updated to 287 fruits per box, equivalent to a weight of 5.01 ounces per fruit. This is 15.9% lower than in the last five crop seasons.
Increased premature fruit drop was observed in the months of October and November after rains resumed, which was already accounted for in the projected average rate of 20.90%.
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