Showing a 75% increase from last year’s Hurricane Irma damaged crop, Florida’s 2018-19 citrus production is forecast at 86.9 million boxes by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Output is still far below Florida’s peak output of 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said the big uptick in production is welcome.
“This citrus production forecast offers a glimmer of hope to Florida’s iconic citrus industry,” Putnam said in a statement. “For more than a decade, we’ve battled citrus greening and the industry most recently was dealt a devastating blow last year from Hurricane Irma. This estimated increase in production is the much-anticipated good news that Florida’s growers have hoped for. Much work remains, but the citrus industry is strong and here to stay.”
The USDA forecast that Florida’s all-orange output at 79 million boxes for 2018-19, up 76% from 44.95 million boxes in 2017-18.
For grapefruit, the USDA forecast Florida output at 6.7 million boxes in 2018-19, up 72% from 3.88 million boxes from 2017-18. Florida red grapefruit output was 5.5 million boxes, up from 3.18 million boxes last season.
Florida tangerine/mandarin output for the 2018-19 season is 1.2 million boxes, up from 60% from last season.
California and Texas
California growers also expect greater volume.
The USDA said the California navel orange forecast for 2018-19 is 49 million boxes, up 8% from last season’s final utilization. The California valencia orange forecast is 9 million boxes, down 5% from last season’s final utilization. The Texas all-orange forecast, at 2.4 million boxes, is up 28% from last season’s final utilization.
The U.S. 2018-2019 grapefruit crop is forecast 33% higher than last season’s final utilization. In Texas, expected production of 6.2 million boxes is up 29% from a year ago.
The forecast for the 2018-2019 U.S. lemon crop is down 4% from last season’s final utilization. California production forecast, at 20 million boxes is off 6% from the 2017-2018 season.
The USDA said the U.S. tangerine and mandarin crop is forecast up 22% from last season’s final utilization. California tangerine and mandarin forecast, at 23 million boxes, is up 20% from the previous year.