USDA lowers Florida orange harvest outlook, expects 28 percent drop
The USDA reduced its forecast for all Florida grown oranges by 3 million boxes, which would put the harvest at 38.2 million boxes, or 28 percent less than the last year and 43 percent less than two years ago.
In its outlook report, the USDA clarified that it had reduced the projected harvest for this season downward by 7 percent for all oranges compared to its last estimate in March. Valencia orange forecasts were slashed by 13 percent, Grapefruit production is down 8 percent, while tangerine and tangelo categories remain unchanged.
The forecast consists of 18.2 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges, which would put the total harvest figure 19.8 percent below the harvest in 2020-21 and 38.6 percent below the total registered harvest for this category in 2019-20. This figure did not change from March to April
For Valencia oranges, the USDA reduced its harvest forecast by a full 3 million boxes, to 20 million total boxes from the Florida harvest. This amounts to a 33.9 percent reduction compared to the same period last year.
As per the advance of the harvest as of April 1, the USDA said that 99 percent of early and midseason non-Valencia oranges have been harvested. whereas 48% of Valencia oranges have been harvested at this point.
The grapefruit harvest is also well advanced, with 93 percent of red grapefruit rows and 95 percent of white grapefruit harvest now completed.
The slide in production is linked to citrus disease and bad weather, constraining the supply of oranges in the U.S. and internationally.