‘Crazy Weather’ Kicks Off California Citrus Season

Josh McGillCalifornia Corner, Weather

citrus season
Tropical Storm Hilary affected California citrus.
(Photo courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service)

The timeline for the California citrus season is later than average but is getting started in the Coachella and Imperial valleys. Rainstorms have been a recurring theme for 2023, causing a bit of damage in some areas. However, Casey Creamer, president and chief executive officer of California Citrus Mutual, told AgNet West there is always hope for a good year when a new season gets underway.

“We’ve had crazy weather here throughout the year, and we’re kicking off this season down in District Three with some crazy weather as well,” Creamer said in regard to Tropical Storm Hilary that came through California in August. “But then we had this recent rain come through the Coachella area and caused actually more significant damage over there.”

Harvest in the Central Valley region of District One has yet to begin but will be starting in the coming weeks. The citrus season has been about three weeks behind the average, as with most other commodities. “It’s usually around mid-October to early November. It will probably be pushing closer to the November timeframe this year,” Creamer noted.

The delays in the season have not been too detrimental to California citrus. However, the late season has contributed to some higher-than-average pest issues. Citrus thrips have been a significant issue for growers this year. While Creamer reports that the quality of the fruit has been excellent, there have been some substantial cosmetic issues.

“That exterior quality is something that’s going to be significantly affected this year related to the weather and the thrips,” said Creamer. “So, something we’re monitoring very closely as an organization, along with several others, is looking at disaster relief programs. What might be available if something is approved later this year? How might we be able to access that for our growers?”

Source: AgNet West

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