USDA cuts Florida citrus estimates slightly

02/09/2012 10:31:00 AM
By Citrus + Vegetable Magazine Staff

Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to reduce estimates of Florida's 2011-12 orange crop, overall production still remains larger than last year.

The USDA's Agricultural Statistics Board forecasts production of 146 million 90-pound boxes, down 1 percent from the December estimate.

Broken down, that's 73 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges and 73 million boxes of Valencias. The change occurred in Valencias.

A survey conducted at the end of January showed 80 percent of non-Valencias had been harvested.

The USDA attributed the 1 million box reduction in the Valencia estimate to smaller fruit size.

The current fruit size is close to average, and it will take 207 pieces to fill a 90-pound equivalent box. That compares to 206 pieces last month.

The USDA still figures about 16 percent fruit drop, 1 percent higher than average.

But the fruit appears to have more juice content.

The USDA now projects that frozen concentrate orange juice yields will be 1.63 gallons per box at 43 degrees Brix.

That compares to last year's final yield of 1.59 gallons per box, according to Florida Department of Citrus figures.

The USDA also reduced the grapefruit estimate by 500,000 85-pound boxes to 18.7 million boxes.

The tangerine estimate also was reduced by 100,000 boxes to 4.3 million boxes, while the tangelo estimate of 1.1 million boxes remained unchanged.



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