The first update of the 2023–24 orange crop forecast for the São Paulo and West-Southwest Minas Gerais citrus belt confirmed the initial May forecast of 309.34 million boxes. Fundecitrus announced the update on Sept. 11.
The forecast for Hamlin, Westin and Rubi varieties was increased 3.5% to 58.09 million boxes. Other early-season varieties climbed 1.6% to 18.51 million boxes. The Pera Rio forecast decreased 2.3% to 96.68 million boxes. Valencia and Valencia Folha Murcha varieties were unchanged at 105.23 million boxes. The Natal variety was unchanged at 30.83 million boxes.
FRUIT SIZE AND FRUIT DROP
Considering all varieties, the average fruit size remains the same as the May projection, which is 247 fruit to compose a 40.8 kilogram box. This is equivalent to oranges of 165 grams or 5.82 ounces. That is slightly above the average of the last 10 years, which is 163 grams or 5.75 ounces.
The projection of the fruit drop rate is maintained at 21%, on average, considering all varieties.
From January to April 2023, before the release of the crop forecast, rainfall was very frequent, reaching significant volumes that totaled 710 millimeters on average in the citrus belt. This amount exceeded by 6% the climatological average for the period of 1991 to 2020.
However, from May to August, with the arrival of the dry season, precipitation became scarce, accumulating only 103 millimeters, which resulted in a negative anomaly of 36 millimeters. This amount is 26% below the average for the period.
The total volume of precipitation, which has reached 813 millimeters so far in 2023, equates to the climatological average, representing a variation of only 0.35%.
HARVEST AHEAD OF LAST SEASON
The harvest reached 37% of production in mid-August, showing a faster pace than the 30% that had been harvested at this time last year.
See the full forecast update here. The next forecast update will be issued on Dec. 11.
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