Florida's orange volumes continue to plummet - FreshFruitPortal.com

Florida's orange volumes continue to plummet

More News Top Stories
Florida's orange volumes continue to plummet

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has forecast Florida's orange production this season to fall 14% year-on-year, with Valencias taking the biggest hit.oranges_847210064

In a report, the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) said Valencia orange volumes would drop 21%, while there would be a 4% decline for other oranges.

Grapefruit production is also set to fall 11% to 9.6 million boxes, and there are significant declines across the tangerine and tangelo category.

Florida growers are battling citrus greening disease, also known as HLB, which is bacterial disease vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. It is endemic to the state and has reduced production by more than 50% over the past decade.

In a report, the NASS said total orange production was projected to be 70 million boxes.

"The total includes 34.0 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, and Navel varieties) and 36.0 million boxes of Valencia oranges," the report said.

It added the majority of citrus-growing regions were unaffected by drought conditions at the start of the growing season.

"By March, most citrus trees were in full bloom and some had developed small pea to marble size fruit. The citrus growing area remained largely drought free," the report said.

"However, during intermittent times of dry weather, citrus groves required the use of irrigation systems. Temperatures and precipitation were favorable throughout the summer months for fruit growth and continued until the citrus harvest season began in late September."

As for the grapefruit category, the forecast includes 2.10 million boxes of white varieties and 7.50 million boxes of red varieties, representing 16% and 10% year-on-year declines respectively.

A measure that provides Florida citrus growers with a strong tax incentive to plant more trees and bolster the ailing industry recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

By a 400-20 vote,  Republicans and Democrats approved the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new citrus instead of the standard 14-year depreciation period under current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com



Subscribe to our newsletter