Published on Feb. 10 by Fundecitrus and its cooperators, the third 2021–2022 orange crop forecast update for the São Paulo and West-Southwest Minas Gerais citrus belt remains at 264.14 million boxes. Should this forecast hold true until harvest ends, Brazil’s orange crop will be 30 million boxes less than the initial forecast for the season.
“The arid landscape of groves prevailing at the beginning of this crop season, caused by the most severe drought in history and frosts of rare intensity, started to change when rains resumed as of October last year,” states the Fundecitrus crop forecast report. “Rainfall volume increased in January 2022, although
the accumulated amount since May 2021 is still far from the historical average … The atypical drought in the citrus belt and the milder temperatures observed in this crop season result from the La Niña phenomenon that should last until May.”
Brazil’s orange growth this season was affected as a consequence of the adverse climate. Average fruit weight was reduced to 142.2 grams (287 fruits per box) in the previous forecast update, which is 15.9% lower than in the last five crop
seasons. Survey data shows that the average weight of fruits harvested by January 2022 is slightly lower than the projected weight, although fruits to be harvested in February and March this year should be somewhat larger, since that is a rainier period.
Rainfall, combined with the advanced fruit maturation stage, will contribute to reaching the projected premature fruit drop rate of 20.9%.
Thus, projected fruit size and fruit drop rates remain the same as in the December crop forecast report. Figures will be final only after the harvest ends in April. As of mid-January, harvest had reached 82% of total production.
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