Florida orange forecast "solid news" for industry
The USDA's initial Florida orange crop estimate for the 2019-20 season is "solid news" for the industry, according to the Florida Citrus Mutual.
The USDA on Thursday said projected 74m boxes, which is a 3% increase from last year's final tally.
The Valencia crop has been pegged at 42m boxes and early/mid-season varieties at 32m boxes.
"This incremental increase is good news for the industry as we continue to recover from Hurricane Irma and the devastating effects of citrus greening," said Michael W. Sparks, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual.
"We believe that this number - if it holds throughout the year - will strike a nice balance of getting the processors the oranges they need while firming up prices to the Florida citrus grower.
"I am proud of the Florida citrus grower who continues to produce the best fruit in the world in a very challenging environment. We are not out of the woods but we are making gains."
The USDA issues its initial estimate in October of each year and then revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July.
During the 2018-19 season, Florida produced 71.6m boxes of oranges.
The USDA's estimate of the 2019-20 Florida grapefruit crop is 4.6m boxes and specialty citrus is 1.05m boxes.