The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts Florida will produce almost 45 million boxes of oranges this season, unchanged from last month’s projection.
The estimate is down 35% from production in the 2016-2017 season. Hurricane Irma wiped out much of the crop and stressed trees when it blew through in September.
The storm especially frustrated growers because they initially anticipated a stronger crop this season.
Early, midseason and navel varieties are forecast at 19 million boxes, down 43% from 2016-17. Valencias are projected at 26 million boxes, down 27%.
The June forecast is the last one for the current crop.
“While today’s final citrus crop forecast brings this horrible season to a close, it’s important to remember that the industry is still recovering from Hurricane Irma’s unprecedented damage last year,” Florida agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam said in a news release. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the USDA, Florida’s agriculture industry and our elected leaders, much-needed disaster assistance is on the way to help Florida’s growers.”
The hurricane caused more than $760 million in damage to the Florida citrus industry.