February’s federal citrus forecast trimmed another 2 million boxes from Florida’s projected orange crop, dropping expected 2022–23 production to 16 million boxes. That’s an 11% drop from what had already been projected to be a historically low orange crop. The forecast was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS). If the Florida orange forecast is realized, it will be 61% less than last season’s final production.
The Florida non-Valencia orange forecast dipped 1 million boxes from the January forecast, or 14%, to 6 million boxes. The Valencia forecast also dipped 1 million boxes, or 9%, to 10 million boxes.
By late January, more than 92% of the Florida non-Valencia orange crop had been harvested. Valencia oranges, which are still being harvested, have fruit size that is below the minimum and is projected to be below the minimum at harvest. Current Valencia orange droppage is above the maximum and projected to be above maximum at harvest. References to “minimum” and “maximum” refer to the previous 10 seasons.
Florida’s orange production has been tumbling ever since HLB was discovered in the state in 2005. It took an additional hit when Hurricane Ian hit the state’s citrus groves hard in late September, knocking much fruit to the ground and damaging trees.
Florida’s grapefruit and tangerine/mandarin forecasts were unchanged from January at 1.5 million boxes and 500,000 boxes, respectively.
Citrus production forecasts for Arizona, California and Texas were all unchanged from January.
See the full USDA NASS citrus forecast here.
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The next update to the citrus crop forecast will be on March 8 at approximately 12:00 p.m. on the Citrus Industry website.
Coverage of the USDA citrus crop forecast is brought to you by Farm Credit and Florida Citrus Mutual.
Source: USDA NASS