A week before Hurricane Ian tore across Florida, Glenn Beck of Beck Bros. Citrus reported that there were hopeful signs for the coming season. Fruit in his better-looking groves were in the size range that tends to hold on trees until harvest.
Beck, and his brother Mark, own and manage citrus groves across the state. He says each day since Ian, leaf and fruit drop have gotten progressively worse.
“I was so very hopeful right after the storm, because the damage didn’t look that bad in many areas,” Beck says. “But we know there’s a delayed response in these trees after a storm. We have groves in Highlands and Polk counties that have gotten progressively worse every day since the storm passed. I think we’ll be seeing significant acreage where there will be 60% fruit loss and up to 100% for some areas.”
In some of Beck’s best-looking groves in Lake County, he says fruit loss is likely to be in the 10% to 20% range, assuming drop doesn’t worsen. Based upon what he is seeing elsewhere, he says a higher loss is a possibility.
“Flooding also has been a factor in some spots. We have some groves still under water a week after the storm,” Beck says. “Down in areas like the Flatwoods where water just didn’t have anywhere to go, the flooding has been bad.”
Beck is currently serving as president of Florida Citrus Mutual. He says the association staff is assessing damage and stands ready to assist growers in any way they can. He encourages growers to respond to Mutual’s damage assessment survey.
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