Florida ended its season by producing fewer cartons of citrus — and historically low volumes of grapefruit and tangerines.
In its final report for the 2008-09 season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said grapefruit production fell from last season’s 26.6 million equivalent boxes to 21.7 million boxes this season.
White grapefruit volume fell 100,000 boxes from the June report to the July 10 report. Colored or red grapefruit, the leading variety, remained steady.
The USDA reported that Florida grapefruit growers harvested the smallest number of boxes since the 2005-06 season, which was disrupted by Hurricane Wilma.
Tangerine production was also low, the smallest since the 1994-95 season.
Tangerine volume fell from 5.5 million boxes in 2007-08 to 3.9 million boxes this season. Honey tangerines, which ship January through April, accounted for the loss.
On oranges, the state shipped 162.1 million cartons this season, down from 170.2 million last season. From June to July, the USDA reports the state packed 2.5 million more cartons of valencias.
For overall citrus production, Florida produced 188.9 million equivalent boxes, lower than last season’s 203.8 million cartons and the 201-million-carton 2004-08 season average.
While only 4% of the state’s oranges ship fresh, 41% of its grapefruit and 66% of its tangerines go to fresh buyers.