Limoneira Co. reported fiscal third-quarter agribusiness revenue of $39.1 million, up from $38.4 million last year, primarily due to stronger lemon sales.
 
Total net revenue increased to $40.4 million compared to $39.9 million in the third quarter of 2016, according to a news release.
 
For the nine months ending July 31, the Santa Paula, Calif.-based company posted $105.4 million in revenue, compared to $92.3 million in the same period last year.
 
Operating income for the quarter (ending July 31) decreased to $13.2 million, compared to $14.2 million in the third quarter of 2016, primarily due to lower avocado production, according to the release.
 
Operating income for the nine months ending July 31 was $16.1 million, up from $10.1 million a year ago.
 

Lemons and other citrus

 
Lemon sales reached $30 million for the third quarter, compared to $26.2 million for the same period last year.
 
Limoneira sold approximately 919,000 cartons of fresh lemons during the third quarter at a $28.45 average price per carton compared to approximately 846,000 cartons sold at a $27.19 average price per carton during the third quarter of 2016.
 
The release attributed a third-quarter increase in operating expenses to higher lemon volume, particularly an increase in lemons sourced from third-party growers.
 
Lemon packing costs fell to $5.1 million for the third quarter, compared to $5.6 million for 3Q 2016.
 
For the nine months ending July 31, Limoneira packed approximately 2.8 million cartons of fresh lemons at an average cost per carton of $5.87 compared to 2.4 million cartons at an average cost of $7.19 for the same period last year.
 
Orange revenue for the third quarter was $1.1 million, a drop from $1.9 million during the same period in 2016, which Limoneira attributed to lower prices and volume of oranges sold.
 
Specialty citrus and other crop revenues were $400,000, about half what the company reported a year ago.
 

Avocados soften

 
Avocados saw quarterly revenue decline to $7.5 million from $9.6 million a year ago, with approximately 5 million pounds sold at an average price of $1.50 per pound compared to 9.5 million pounds sold at an average price of $1.01 per pound for the same period last year, the release said.
 
For the fiscal year through July, Limoneira sold 6.3 million pounds of avocados at an average of $1.51 per pound, compared to 11.4 million pounds at 95 cents per pound last year.