USDA predicts larger Florida orange, grapefruit crops

10/11/2012 10:35:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

trailer full of orangesCourtesy Florida Department of CitrusThe bulk of Florida's orange crop goes to processing.Florida's orange growers expect to produce a 5 percent larger crop this season than they did in 2011-12, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate.

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, which issued its first estimate of the season this morning, predicts that Florida will produce about 154 million 90-pound boxes or oranges this season compared with 146.6 million last season.

Although the number of bearing citrus trees in Florida decreased by 1 percent to 56.8 million, the amount of fruit per tree increased 14 percent from last season, according to the estimate.

The bulk of Florida's orange crop goes toward processing, so juice yields are an important part of the overall estimate.

A box of oranges this season is expected to yield 1.61 gallons of 42-degrees Brix frozen concentrated orange juice.

Last seaon's final yield was 1.63 gallons per box, and the record was 1.67 gallons sets in 2007-08..

The service also estimates that California will produce 59.5 million 80-pound boxes of oranges compared with 59 million in 2011-12, and Texas will produce produce about 1.4 million 85-pound boxes, just slightly less than last season.

Florida grapefruit production also is expected to increase this season, according to the estimate.

Florida growers are expecting a crop of 20.3 million 85-pound boxes compared with 18.8 million last season.

California expects a crop of 4 million 80-pound boxes this season compared with 4.4 million last season, and Texas expects a crop of 5.2 million 80-pound boxes compared with 4.8 million last season.

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