( File photo )

With Florida groves showing the biggest declines, the 2020-21 U.S. orange crop is forecast 11% lower, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first crop production report. 

The USDA said the U.S. orange forecast for the 2020-2021 season is 4.65 million tons, down 11% from the 2019-20 season.

The Florida orange forecast, at 57 million 90-pound boxes (2.57 million tons), is down 15% from last season, according to the USDA.

On average, about 96% of Florida oranges are processed into orange juice, according to Florida Department of Citrus statistics.

The USDA said that Florida’s early, mid-season, and navel varieties are forecast at 23 million boxes (1.04 million tons), down 22% from last season’s final utilization. The Florida valencia orange forecast, at 34 million boxes (1.53 million tons), is down 10% from last season, according to the USDA.

Florida’s 2020-21 grapefruit production also is down, according to the USDA’s crop production estimate. At 4.5 million (85-pound) boxes, the 2020-21 estimate is down 7.3% compared with last season. About 40% of Florida’s grapefruit crop is sold fresh, according to the USDA.

Florida’s production of tangerines and mandarins rose 7.8%, from 1.02 million 95-pound boxes in 2019-20 to a forecast 1.1 million boxes in 2020-21. Just more than half of Florida’s tangerines and mandarins are shipped fresh, according to the USDA.

The dip in orange output isn’t a sign of continuing decline after years of battling citrus greening, one citrus leader said.

“Florida citrus growers are finding success through innovative mitigation efforts to fight citrus greening in their groves,” Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, said in a news release. “Today’s forecast is more likely reflective of factors beyond grower control typical of the agricultural growth cycle than any one issue.”

California navels down, mandarins up

In California, where three out of four oranges are sold fresh, the USDA’s orange forecast is 50.5 million 80-pound boxes (2.02 million tons), down 5% from last season’s final utilization. The California navel orange forecast is 42 million boxes (1.68 million tons), down 5% from last season’s final utilization. The California valencia orange forecast is 8.5 million boxes (340,000 tons), down 6% from last season.

California’s mandarin/tangerine output is 23 million 80-pound boxes (920,000 tons), up 4.5% from last season’s output of 22 million boxes. About 75% of California’s mandarins/tangerines are sold fresh.

Grapefruit production in California is projected unchanged from a year ago, at 3.8 million 80-pound boxes. About 40% of California grapefruit is sold fresh, according to the USDA. 
 

Lemon production in California in the 2020-21 season is forecast at 22 million 80-pound boxes (880,000 tons), down 14% from last season. The Arizona lemon forecast is 1.3 million (80-pound) boxes (52,000 tons), down 28% from last season. About 70% of U.S. lemons are sold fresh, according to the USDA. The Texas all orange forecast, at 1.50 million 85-pound boxes (64,000 tons), is up 12% from last season. Four in ten Texas oranges are sold fresh, the USDA says.

The USDA said Texas grapefruit output is pegged at 4.9 million 80-pound boxes, up 11% compared with 4.4 million boxes in 2019-20. About 40% of Texas grapefruit is sold fresh.

Price trends

The USDA Market News Service reported the average f.o.b. price for fresh oranges on Oct. 10 was $35.58 per carton, up from $25.14 a year ago. For grapefruit, the USDA reported the average shipping point price of $33.90, up from $25.90 a year ago. Lemons showed lower f.o.b. markets, with the Oct. 10 price of $30.64 per carton off 13% from the $35.42 per carton a year ago.

 

The Packer's Orange Coverage

The Packer USDA Coverage

 

 
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