The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently reported additional information about the state’s 2022–23 Valencia orange forecast of 16.2 million 40-pound cartons. This figure is equal to the 8.1 million 80-pound boxes forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 8. The CDFA forecast, also issued on March 8, is below the prior season production of 17.2 million cartons or 8.6 million boxes.
CDFA stated that the season experienced scattered precipitation in some areas, which caused a rainy start to the growing season. Survey data indicated an average fruit set per tree of 616, a 13.9% increase from the previous year and 12.2% above the five-year average of 549. The average March 1 diameter was 2.39 inches, down 2.8% from the previous year and 5.1% below the five-year average of 2.52.
California has 25,000 bearing acres of Valencia oranges this season, down from 26,000 last season. The state had 40,000 bearing acres of Valencias in 2011–12, when production was 25 million cartons. Acreage has been on the decline ever since.
The average number of Valencia orange trees per acre is 124. Trees per acre have been at that level since the 2016–17 season.
The forecast was based on the results of the 2022–23 Valencia Orange Objective Measurement Survey, which was conducted from Jan. 9 to Feb. 28. Estimated fruit set per tree, fruit diameter, trees per acre, bearing acreage and oranges per carton were used in the statistical models estimating production. For the survey, a sample of 375 Valencia orange groves were randomly selected, with 340 of those groves utilized in the survey.
See the full California Valencia Orange Objective Measurement Report from CDFA here.
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