The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report shows more declines in this year’s Florida citrus crop.
In its March 8 report, forecasters said they expect this season’s valencia crop to drop 3 million equivalent cartons, to 72 million cartons. Last month’s forecast indicated a 1 million carton decline.
While non-valencia oranges, including midseasons, increased by 1 million cartons, the valencia decline lowers the state’s 2013 orange crop to 139 million cartons. That’s down 5% from the February 141 million box estimate.
Midseason fruit generally harvest through March while late-season valencias begin production by March and harvest through early June.
Florida grapefruit declined by another 1 million equivalent cartons, from 18 million cartons to the recent report’s 17 million cartons. Colored and white grapefruit production fell by 500,000 respective cartons, according to the USDA.
Tangerines and tangelos, the state’s specialty citrus fruit, remain unchanged at 4.7 million boxes.
Florida’s predicted 160.8 million box total citrus crop is lower than the state’s recent five-year average of 179 million cartons. The state produced more than 200 million cartons in the late 1990s and early 2000s.