Fruit drop continues to plague Florida's citrus groves.
Fruit drop continues to plague Florida's citrus groves.

As anticipated by many within the Florida citrus industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's June 11 crop estimate shows a continually shrinking orange crop due mostly to the effects of citrus greening.

"This decrease is about what we expected with the continuing effects of HLB, or citrus greening, so we are not surprised," Mike Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Mutual, said in a news release.

"The flip side is without the resiliency and superior production methods of the Florida citrus grower, it could have been worse. The crop is still very high quality."

The Florida valencia crop dropped to 51 million 90-pound boxes from the May estimate of 57 million boxes, according to the USDA.

The non-valencia crop, which has already been harvested, remained unchanged at 53.3 million boxes.

Altogether, the USDA expects Florida growers to harvest 104.3 million boxes this season compared with 133.6 million boxes during the 2012-13 season.

The June grapefruit estimate remained unchanged from May with 15.6 million 85-pound boxes.

The specialty fruit estimate also remained unchanged at 2.95 million 95-pound boxes.

The final estimate of the 2013-14 season is due out July 11.