Florida growers expect late avocado crop

05/28/2010 09:15:32 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Doug Ohlemeier

Avocados shortly after arriving at a Homestead, Fla.-area packinghouse.

Brindle said he expects the crop to be a little less than initially estimated.

Brindle said the storm was a normal storm system that moves through in April but that this one brought stronger than the normal 30 mph winds. It struck during the middle of south Florida’s fruit set period when the deal has many small fruit and flowers that were about to mature.

Brindle said growers would have a better idea of the size of this year’s deal in late May.

“The last three years have gone really well,” he said in early May. “The industry has fully recovered from the hurricanes we had in 2005 and 2006. We are hoping for a really good year.”

Responsible for about half of the deal’s fruit, Brooks expects to ship a little less than 500,000 bushels, higher than the 440,000 bushels it shipped last season.

Alan Flinn, administrator of the Florida Avocado Administrative Committee, Homestead, forecast the industry to ship 1 million bushels, up from the 929,000 pounds the industry shipped in 2009-10.

“We should have a very good season this year,” Flinn said in early May. “We have had a good bloom and fruit set so far.”

The 2009-10 season ended shipments in March.

Despite the possible damage to early-season fruit, Eddie Caram, general manager of New Limeco LLC, Princeton, Fla., said the season overall should bring high-quality shipments.

“April has been good on weather, and there hasn’t been a lot of wind except for that storm,” he said in early May.

“We should have really nice clean fruit, and the fruit looks nice. We have taken care of our crops this year.”

New Limeco expects to begin harvesting by early June.

Caram said the harvest should be normal but volume should be a little less at the deal’s start. He said the heaviest harvesting should start after the July Fourth weekend.

While opening season prices can often start as high as $22 a flat by July, prices can fall to $6-7 a flat, said Manny Hevia Jr., secretary-treasurer of M&M Farm Inc., Miami.

Hevia said the trees in early May were flowering after a difficult winter.

“If you look at the trees, it looks like it will be a fantastic season,” he said. “If the fruit on the trees hold, it will be an above-average season. If we have a lot of fruit drop, then it should be a more normal season.”

M&M grows on 2,500 acres of the deal’s estimated 2010-11 season’s 7,500 acres.



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