California Citrus Mutual Expects Increased Crops

Josh McGillCalifornia Corner, Crop Forecast, Mandarins

The California Citrus Mutual (CCM) Marketing Committee —comprised of growers, shippers and marketers — anticipates the state’s 2022–23 navel orange and mandarin crops will be larger than last season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also predicted larger California crops in its initial citrus forecast for the 2022–23 season.

California Citrus Mutual predicts up to a 30% increase in the state’s mandarin crop this season.

The navel orange crop will be approximately 10% over the previous season’s utilized production but still below the average season, according to the CCM committee. The upcoming season’s crop is expected to be very similar to the previous season with excellent fruit quality and sizing. Preliminary maturity tests show that the crop is progressing very well with high sugar content that well exceeds the California standard for sweetness.    

The mandarin crop — including Clementines, Tangos, Murcotts and other seedless varieties — is also progressing well in terms of quality and fruit size. The CCM committee estimates that the mandarin crop will be up by as much as 30% over the previous season. However, the crop size still will be well below average production levels and nearly 30% below the 2020–21 record-breaking large crop.   

“The high quality of this crop is the silver lining of a very costly growing season,” says CCM President Casey Creamer. “Like many Americans, growers are faced with rising inflation and increasing costs. The cost to grow and ship California citrus has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Since 2020, growers’ costs have increased over $1,000 per acre. In the last year alone, costs have gone up 25% with fertilizer, fuel and water being the main drivers. We also expect higher costs on the packing and shipping side this season largely due to increased transportation and labor costs. Despite these challenges, the industry is optimistic for the season ahead.”

The California navel orange crop will start being harvested by the end of October followed by mandarins in early November.

Source: California Citrus Mutual