With ample supplies of grapefruit and late oranges remaining, Texas citrus suppliers expect to be able to offer shipments through mid- to late May.
Wonderful Citrus expects to offer both Texas grapefruit and Texas oranges through the end of May this season, said Zak Laffite, chief sales officer for Wonderful Citrus.
As of March 25, Dale Murden, president of Mission-based Texas Citrus Mutual, said about 40% of the grapefruit crop and 75% of late oranges remained to be shipped.
Most shippers hope to be finished by mid-May or so, he said.
The USDA in December estimated total Texas grapefruit production at 6.2 million boxes in 2018-19, up from 4.8 million boxes in 2017-18.
Russon Holbrook, senior vice president for South Texas Organics, Mission, said the firm’s organic valencia oranges and Rio Star grapefruit will be sold past mid-April.
“The volume of fruit on the trees is just so much higher than in past years, so there’s a lot of fruit on the tree to get through and a lot of fruit to harvest,” he said.
Smaller fruit sizing has made marketing citrus a little more challenging this year, he said.
Through mid-March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported season-to-date domestic shipments of Texas grapefruit totaled 134.7 million pounds, off from 172.3 million pounds a year ago. Total shipments last season were 205.6 million pounds.
Texas export shipments of grapefruit totaled 10.1 million pounds by mid-March, down from 14.6 million pounds a year ago. Total grapefruit export shipments a year ago were 15.2 million pounds.
The USDA reported Texas shipping point prices for size 27 grapefruit were $24-27 per carton on March 23, up from $19.50-21 a year ago.
The USDA reported that Texas orange shipments through mid-March were 69.6 million pounds, off from 99.2 million pounds at the same time a year ago.
Total Texas orange shipments last season totaled 121.9 million pounds, according to the USDA.
In December, the USDA predicted Texas all-orange output for 2018-19 at 2.4 million boxes, up from 1.88 million boxes in the 2017-18 season.
Texas shipping point prices for Texas oranges were $14.50-18 per carton for size 72s on March 23, down from about $16-20 per carton the same time a year ago.