Freeze, greening lead to lower volumes in 2014 - The Packer

Freeze, greening lead to lower volumes in 2014

01/27/2014 01:40:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

“Despite all the negative news, the flavor is excellent. That’s our positive in a year that hasn’t had many positives,” Galone said.

California growers have said that despite damage there is still a lot of fruit to sell.

“There is still sufficient volume to fill orders, although we may see an earlier end to the season. We’ll be meeting demand until the end of the season, which could be several weeks earlier than normal,” Blakely said.

“We usually go through the middle of July, but I’m not sure we’ll get past early June this year. We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.

Harvey Phillips, a salesman for Johnston Farms, Bakersfield, Calif., said damage could be more extensive than some estimates he has heard so far.

“My estimate is that we could have lost 60% of the crop before it’s all said and done,” he said.

So far, pricing for the larger fruit has gone up a little bit, according to Phillips, but smaller fruit, which was hit harder, has seen bigger increases.

“It’s rare when smaller fruit is quoted at a higher price than larger fruit,” he said.



Texas has seen a slight increase in supply, according to the USDA.

Grapefruit estimates are up about 3.5% and oranges are up about 4%.

Trent Bishop, vice president of sales for Mission, Texas-based Lone Star Citrus Growers said the state has seen a really good growing season this year.

“We had some timely rains that caused some short-term panic but that really were a true benefit in the long run,” Bishop said.

Rain had delayed harvest at the end of last year, he said.

The added moisture hasn’t been enough to really affect reservoir levels, he added, although it has allowed growers to refrain from accessing that water, so it’s still a positive result.

“It has positively affected the water supply up north slightly,” he said.

Bishop said LoneStar’s volume is up considerably this year, and they expect to offer a lot of promotions in the next 120 days or so for the state’s grapefruit and orange crop.

“We have an excellent quality this year, with no reason to expect that will change,” he said.

Although Texas has seen good weather, potential challenges remain as the state battles to keep citrus greening from creeping further into the state.

“We are taking all the necessary precautions to keep it out of the state and to keep it from spreading once it is found,” he said.

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