Florida is increasing its orange production.

Report boosts Florida orange production

Doug Ohlemeier

Late season valencias in a central Florida grove in early March. The latest USDA report has valencias unchanged but shows early and midseason oranges increasing production.

In a March 10 forecast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a 6% increase in early and mid-season varieties, which expanded from 66 million equivalent cartons in a February estimate to 70 million cartons in the most recent survey.

Navels normally run through late January with hamlins, pineapples and temple midseason oranges typically finishing harvesting in late March. Remaining unchanged at 72 million cartons, valencias usually ship through late May and June.

Grapefruit remained unchanged at 19.6 million cartons and tangerines held at 4.4 million cartons. Tangelos increased production by 100,000 boxes.

Michael Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual, Lakeland, in a news release said the late maturing crop and the freeze have complicated forecasting. He said the updated survey results should put the industry closer to the final season number.

Read the full report at www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/cpfp.