California citrus estimates down due to Thrips

California citrus estimates down due to thrips

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California citrus estimates down due to thrips

Unprecedented rainfall from atmospheric rivers in California has caused serious struggles in California’s agriculture this season. So is the case for citrus growers in the state who are facing significant pest challenges because of the unusual weather. The phenomenon disrupted typical citrus thrips timing in orchards and led to uncontrollable conditions in the field, California Citrus Mutual (CCM) informs in a Sept. 27 release.

“It’s been an extremely challenging pest season for citrus growers,” says CCM President, Casey Creamer. “The industry did its absolute best in trying to control this unprecedented thrips season. Growers bear that cost while also facing the reality that the pest pressure will result in decreased returns in the marketplace.”

Reports from the California Citrus Mutual (CCM) Pest and Disease Task Force indicate that some growers have experienced exterior fruit scarring on as much as 80% of the fruit on individual blocks, primarily affecting navels but with varying impacts to mandarins, lemons, and other citrus varieties.   

The CCM Marketing Committee estimates that 30% of the navel crop has thrips scarring and the utilized volume will be 8% to 15% under the previous season’s production due to thrips. The Committee also estimates that the mandarin and lemon crops will also be down 5% compared to the previous season’s production.

On a positive note...

Visual effects from thrips have no effect on the interior fruit quality, taste, or texture.  Consumers can still expect the same exceptional eating experience they are used to with California citrus with higher volumes of choice fruit. Fancy fruit, with minimal external scarring or damage, will be a premium commodity this season. 

“Despite these challenges, our growers remain optimistic about the fruit quality on the tree this season.  The overabundance of water has reservoirs full and has reinvigorated the groves after three years of extreme drought conditions,” says Creamer.

*Cover image by jcomp on Freepik

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