Going into mid-November and beyond, the outlook is very good for Texas produce, industry sources say.
“The conditions have been really, really ideal going into the fall,” said Dante Galeazzi, president and CEO of the Texas International Produce Association.
“Mother Nature, knocking on wood, has cooperated and we hope that will be the case throughout the season,” he said.
Transportation is expected to be adequate for industry needs, shippers said.
“We’ve had an influx of calls with people with equipment looking to move product down this way,” said Jeff Holton, sales manager for McAllen, Texas-based Val Verde Vegetable.
“I don’t think the trucking situation is going to be a factor like it was two years ago when e-log (requirements) started up. There is plenty of equipment around.”
Prospects are looking good for Texas citrus in the 2019-20 season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast the non-valencia orange output at 2.05 million boxes, down from 2.2 million boxes last year but up from 1.53 million boxes two years ago. Valencia orange output in Texas is forecast by the USDA at 650,000 boxes, up from 290,000 boxes last year and 350,000 cartons two years ago.
Texas grapefruit production is forecast at 5.7 million boxes, down from 6.1 million boxes a year ago but up from 4.8 million boxes two years ago.
“The Texas citrus crop had a great bloom and a good set,” Galeazzi said. “We’re expecting to see some very good sizes of grapefruit and oranges.”
The USDA said that domestic grapefruit shipments in calendar year 2018 totaled 191.5 million pounds, down from 203.6 million pounds in 2017 and also off from 205.8 million pounds.
However, grapefruit exports from Texas totaled 16.5 million pounds, up from 5.9 million pounds in 2017 and 1.3 million pounds in 2016.
2018 shipments of Texas oranges totaled 106.7 million pounds, up from 99.1 million pounds in 2017 and higher than 103.6 million pounds in 2016.
Kale, parley, cilantro and cabbage were increasing in November, and quality in the field has been stellar, Galeazzi said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that Texas cabbage shipments in 2018 totaled 85.7 million pounds, down from 120.5 million pounds in 2017 and off from 128.7 million pounds 2016. Shipments peaked December to March.
Texas shipments of greens totaled 13.1 million pounds in 2018, down from 14.1 million pounds in 2017.
Texas onion growers will finish up planting in November. South Texas onions are available March into July.
In 2018, shipments of Texas onions totaled 283.7 million pounds, compared with 199.2 million pounds in 2017 and 209.2 million pounds in 2016.
Acreage of onions in south Texas has not yet been estimated, but acreage in the past couple of years has ranged from 6,500 to 7,500 acres.
The “great grandfather” of onion varieties is the 1015, but now there are many more varieties, including the 1105, the 1110 and others.