Projections for Florida citrus show a rebound is expected this season after Hurricane Irma devastated agriculture in the state last year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture adjusted its Florida orange crop projection Nov. 8 to 77 million boxes, down 3% from last month’s estimate.
Early, midseason and navel varieties are forecast at 32 million boxes, down 6% from last month, per the latest USDA crop report. Valencias are forecast at 45 million boxes, unchanged from last month’s estimate.
The grapefruit crop forecast was lowered by 300,000 boxes to 6.4 million boxes.
While some of the projections have been adjusted downward, the numbers still represent a massive improvement on the 2017-18 season, when the crop was devastated by Hurricane Irma in September.
Final utilization for the 2017-18 season in Florida included just 18.95 million boxes of early, midseason and navel varieties, 26 million boxes of valencia oranges and 3.88 million boxes of grapefruit.
The Florida Department of Citrus described the recently lowered estimate for this year’s crop as no cause for concern.
“This is a customary adjustment in a normal season,” executive director Shannon Shepp said in a news release.
“Growers are still optimistic and enthusiastic for the season ahead.”
The organization characterized the industry as headed in the right direction.
“While the industry is still rebounding from Hurricane Irma and the effects of greening, this latest report shows an industry starting to recover with a 12% orange increase from the 2016-17 season of 68.7 million boxes,” FDOC said in the release.
California is projected to produce 49 million boxes of oranges, up from 45.4 million last year.
The state is expected to have 40 million boxes of early, midseason and navel varieties, up from 35.9 million last year.
Texas is expected to produce 1.8 million boxes of early, midseason and navel varieties and 600,000 boxes of valencia oranges.
The USDA projected 3.9 million boxes of grapefruit from California, down slightly from last season.
Florida is expected to produce 6.4 million boxes, including 5.3 million of red grapefruit and 1.1 million of white grapefruit.
Texas is forecast to have 6.2 million boxes of grapefruit this season, up from 4.8 million in 2017-18.
California is expected to increased mandarin and tangerine production from 19.2 million boxes to 23 million boxes, and Florida’s volume is forecast to grow from 750,000 boxes to 1.2 million boxes.
Arizona is projected to produce 1.4 million boxes of lemons, up from 1 million last year. California’s production is expected to dip slightly from 21.2 million to 20 million.