California citrus acreage rose slightly in last two years -

California citrus acreage rose slightly in last two years

Estimates from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) show a hefty increase in mandarin planting has offset a declining production area for most citrus varieties in the state since 2014.

The estimation was based on a questionnaire mailed to all citrus growers included on NASS' database, giving producers eight weeks to respond by mail, while follow-up calls were also made and visits from field personnel to large growers.

The survey showed total citrus acreage rose 1% from 2014 to 2016, reaching 264,520 acres.

The largest increase was from mandarins and mandarin hybrids (+27%; 58,941 acres), followed by limes (+24%; 631 acres) and lemons (+1%; 44,621 acres).

The biggest percentage drop was from a the relatively low-production crop of pummelos and its hybrids, falling 14% to 1,144 acres.

In terms of the state's mainstay crops though, the Navel orange-producing land declined by 4% to 120,784 acres, Valencia acreage dropped 12% to 29,906 acres and grapefruit-growing land was reduced by 2% to 8,493 acres.