Buyers should expect more citrus for the coming season.
Doug OhlemeierThe USDA is forecasting increased U.S. citrus production for the upcoming season on most varieties except for Florida tangerines. These tangerines were packed in Vero Beach, Fla., in late September. Overall U.S. citrus production is forecast to increase this upcoming season on all overall varieties except for Florida tangerines, California valencias and Texas oranges, which all are predicted to see slight declines.
In the season’s first official citrus forecast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Oct. 11 predicted the U.S. to increase overall citrus production from last season’s 272.4 million equivalent cartons to 284.3 million equivalent cartons this year, a 4.2% bump.
Florida’s overall orange production, which ships primarily to processors, is also expected to increase 4%, from 206.2 million boxes to 214.9 million boxes.
Early, midseason and navel oranges are forecast to remain the same from last season, and late-season valencias are expected to increase from last season’s 73 million boxes to 80 million boxes this year.
At 59.5 million boxes, California orange production is set to increase from 57.5 million boxes with the increase coming from early, midseason and navels and expected to experience a slight decline in valencias.
Despite an expected 3.4% U.S. grapefruit production boost, the USDA predicts Florida production to see only a slight increase, with the bump coming in white grapefruit.
Though tangerine and other specialty citrus are forecast to increase 7% across the U.S., Florida’s production is predicted to fall by the same percentage for early-season and the later-season honey tangerines.
Arizona lemon production is expected to nearly double from 800,000 cartons to 1.7 million cartons, though California production is predicted to remain the same as last year’s.
Jim Ewing, acting director of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Florida field office, Orlando, said more bloom set and fruit per tree drove this season’s forecast.