Blame last year's Hurricane Dolly for the 12 percent drop in Texas citrus production this season.


But from bad things come good, says Texas AgriLife Extension Service citrus specialist Julian Sauls, who's based in Weslaco.


The trees will have had a rest from heavy crops and should have strong yields.


“This should be an up year,” Sauls said in a news release. “It should come back really strong after two consecutive down years.”


Hurricane Dolly, a Category 2 hurricane, made landfall on South Padre Island on July 28, 2008. The resulting strong winds and heavy rains hit part of the Rio Grand Valley's citrus production area, causing yield losses of 5 percent to 20 percent.


The actual losses depended on grove locations, with those in Cameron County sustaining the largest losses, Saus says.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the state's total citrus harvest of 278 tons, 12 percent less than the previous year. About 70 percent to 75 percent of the production is in grapefruit, with total citrus production netting $200 million annually.


Some of the yield declines—particularly grapefruit—may be due to the alternate earing tendencies of the area's groves, Sauls says. The 2008-09 season should have been an "up" year.


“It’s typical that an off year is followed by an on year,” he said. “It’s a natural occurrence; it’s the physiology of the trees.”