HOMESTEAD, Fla. — If forecasts hold, Florida grower-shippers are poised for another strong season of avocado shipments.
Following consecutive favorable seasons, grower-shippers say this year’s crop looks to be one of the best in recent years.
“It is very likely that we will have our fourth good crop in a row, said Bill Brindle, vice president of sales for Brooks Tropicals Inc. “This is a rare occurrence as Florida avocados tend to be alternate bearing. Assuming typical weather over the next couple of months, quality should be even better than last year.”
Brindle attributes the expected strong crop to a combination of favorable weather and good growing practices.
Brooks, which is responsible for packing about half of the deal’s volume, planned to start harvesting small volumes in late May and begin commercial harvesting by late June with promotable volumes expected to commence in July.
Growers this season are expected to harvest 1.1 million bushels from 7,500 acres, a little less than the 1.2 million bushels they harvested in the 2013-14 season, said Alan Flinn, administrator of the Florida Avocado Administrative Committee.
“It looks like this will be a good season,” he said in mid-May. “I would say we should be on par with what we produced last year. The crops should remain steady throughout the season.”
Thanks to increasing production of late season varieties that growers planted to try to extend their traditional late May to January season, January, February, March and April are experiencing the highest shipments in years.
According to committee statistics, production during those months during the 2013-14 season was higher than each of the previous three seasons.
The season is looking well and buyers should look for the season to bring a 10% to 20% increase in volume, said Eddie Caram, general manager of New Limeco LLC, Princeton.
“We can expect good sizings, especially after the rains start,” he said in mid-May. “I personally think we will have more of an increase in volume for all the total bushels throughout the season. Considering that we will have all these other later varieties producing, there will be more and more production every season.”
New Limeco plans to start harvesting June 9.
Caram said the groves have experienced favorable tropical spring weather.
“This season’s crop looks like it will be good,” Alvaro Perpuly, general manager of and a partner in Fresh King Inc., said in mid-May. “I don’t see anything that would make me be concerned about volume.”
Fresh King planned to start harvesting in late May and expects to ship 350,000 bushels from the 30 growers that bring fruit to its packinghouse.
Unity Groves Corp., planned to begin harvesting in late May.
Charles Diaz, director of sales, said he expects to bring high volume and said the year should be stronger in terms of production than last year.
“Our quality looks really good and the sizings are good,” he said in mid-May. “It looks to be a great year, and we should have a great variety of product.”
Absence of unfavorable weather should help produce a strong crop, said Manny Hevia Jr., president and chief executive officer of Miami-based M&M Farm Inc.
“Our customers are anxious and are ready to go,” he said in mid-May. “The trees look healthy and this should be a good, average season that should start a little slow with the donnie variety.”
As commercial shipments had not begun in late May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture wasn’t reporting Florida prices.
Last season in late June, when the USDA began reporting prices for the green-skinned fruit, Florida’s deal began at $11-12 for one-layer 12.5-pound flats of sizes 8s-9s and $10-12 for 10s-12s, according to the USDA.
That compares to 2013, when the deal started at $13 for one-layer 12.5-pound flats of sizes 8-12s.