Florida orange estimates drop to post-freeze level

11/08/2013 04:28:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

The season’s first official Florida citrus forecast shows declines in orange and grapefruit production, but big gains in tangerines.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nov. 8 report, Florida growers may harvest the fewest number of oranges since the 1989-90 freeze year.

The USDA forecasts the 2013-14 season to bring 125 million equivalent cartons of oranges, 6% less than last season.

Navels and midseasons are forecast to decline 5% and 14% respectively while the later season valencias are predicted to see a 1% increase.

For grapefruit, total Florida production is forecast at 17.8 million cartons, down 3% from the previous season.

White grapefruit is predicted to sustain the biggest losses with a 9% production decline, while colored or red grapefruit is forecast to be down 1% from last year.

Total Florida tangerine production is predicted to increase 14% with sunburst tangerines forecast to increase by that much and the honeys, which begin harvesting in January, pegged to jump 24%.

Kevin Swords, Florida citrus sales manager for DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., said the report shouldn’t cause significant changes in grower-shippers’ marketing or fruit movement.

He said there are some concerns about fruit droppage which occurred in high levels last season.

“It was hard to react to the droppage in the middle of the deal,” Swords said. “We’re hoping the same thing doesn’t happen this year.”

The USDA said it expects above-average droppage for navels, midseasons, grapefruit and sunburst tangerines with average droppage for valencias and below-average droppage for honeys.

Though majority of the state’s oranges ship to processed channels, about 70% of its navels, half of its grapefruit and two-thirds of its tangerines ship fresh.



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