U.S. Orange Juice Output to Hit 50-Year Low

Josh McGillForecast, Orange Juice

Total U.S. orange juice (OJ) production in the current 2021–22 season is forecast at 286 million single-strength equivalent (SSE) gallons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reported recently. If realized, this volume will be the lowest in more than 50 years.

To compensate for lower production, U.S. OJ imports are expected to increase over last year, reaching more than 400 million gallons. Mexico and Brazil are the main suppliers of OJ imports into the U.S., accounting for a combined 93%.

Fifty-nine percent of U.S. oranges will go to OJ in the 2021–22 season. Most oranges for the processing market are grown in Florida. The average processed orange price reported in January was $6.73 per box, 3 cents higher than the same time last year.

U.S. Orange Juice

U.S. exports of OJ are expected to reach a record low of 41 million SSE gallons this season. Canada will remain the primary foreign destination for U.S. OJ, accounting for more than two-thirds of all exports.

Along with the reduced OJ forecast, total U.S. orange production in the 2021–22 season is forecast to be down from last year by 15%. The decrease is due to smaller crops of Valencia oranges in California and Florida, and to smaller crops of non-Valencia oranges in California, Texas and Florida. The forecast suggests total orange production in the U.S. will be below the levels observed in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida in 2017.

Orange production in Florida is forecast down this season by 22% at 1.85 million tons. Droppage of Valencia oranges in Florida was estimated at 47% in March, 38% higher than the same period last season. Slightly larger Valencia fruit this season may somewhat temper yield losses due to droppage. Droppage of non-Valencia oranges was observed at 28%, which is below last season’s droppage rate of 37%. High droppage rates and lower yields in Florida can be attributed to HLB.

The average grower price of fresh oranges for the period November to January is $23.05 per box, up 5% from the same period last year.

The forecast for U.S. OJ and orange production is part of USDA’s Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, released in March.

Source: USDA Economic Research Service

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