Citrus Greening’s Girth Causing Orange Crush

As the 2013-2014 harvest season nears completion, here are a few thoughts on the current economic situation of the industry. It now appears that the season average delivered-in price for early-mid oranges used for processing will be about $1.80 per pound solid and the delivered-in price for Valencia oranges will average in the neighborhood of $2.20 per pound solid. These prices translate to on-tree prices of roughly $8.00 per box for early-mids and close to $12.00 per box for Valencia oranges. Historically, these are very good prices and would indicate a highly profitable year for the industry.

With grove maintenance costs in the range $1,700 to $2,000 per acre and the impact of greening on per acre yields, however, these prices begin to look less favorable. Using $1,800 per acre as an average for grove maintenance, the break-even yield for early-mid oranges is 225 boxes per acre (assuming a juice yield of six pound solids per box). The break-even yield for Valencia oranges is approximately 152 boxes per acre (assuming 6.5 pound solids per box).

Crunching The Numbers

The FASS/USDA crop forecast for the 2013-2014 season released in April predicted that 53 million boxes of early-mid oranges will be produced along with 57 million boxes of Valencia oranges. The preliminary 2013 Florida tree inventory also released by FASS indicates there are 200,509 acres of early-mid oranges and 251,770 acres of Valencia oranges. Calculating average per acre fruit yields for the 2013-2014 crop gives approximately 264 boxes for early mids and 226 boxes for Valencias. Comparing these figures to the break-even numbers suggest that those blocks strongly affected by greening will not cover grove-maintenance costs let alone contribute to other costs such as depreciation and property taxes.

Thinking Outside Of The Box

The industry is approaching the point where a significant number of processed orange blocks are no longer profitable. This is the reality that many of us feared would arrive when greening was first discovered in the state in 2005. This also might explain why growers have been reluctant to plant new trees. In 2013, there were just more than four million non-bearing trees in a total inventory of just more than 61.1 million trees. With tree mortality in excess of 3%, the industry would need close to two million trees to enter the bearing tree inventory in 2014, but there are only 1.5 million that were planted in 2010 and will become bearing in 2014. Even fewer trees were planted in 2011 and 2012. So the trajectory of the bearing tree inventory will continue on a downward path for the next few years.

I have never enjoyed being the bearer of negative news, and maybe these observations are obvious to growers and processors, but the time has come for bold action. New ways to deal with greening need to found and implemented. New incentives for growers to encourage new tree plantings are now a dire necessity.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Brandt logo
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Utah-Based Baicor
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Jones Potato Farm field in Parrish, FL
Citrus
April 27, 2016
Meet Florida’s New Crop Of Agricultural Environmental Leaders
Annual award program recognizes farmers practicing environmentally innovative techniques. Read More
guessing game using walnuts
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Deception Is A Dish Best Never Served [Opinion]
Recent mainstream media kerfuffle over local food legitimacy stirs up the need for more clearly defined terms, better awareness among consumers. Read More
Cherry Harvest
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Farm Bureau Says Labor Visa Backlogs Threaten 2016 Crops
Agency calls for swifter processing of paperwork so growers' requests for crews can be met. Read More
cash money in hand
Insect & Disease Update
April 22, 2016
USDA Grants $22 Million More To Fund Citrus Greening Fight
The agency has invested more than $380 million between 2009 and 2015 to address devastating disease. Read More
A tattered and wrinkled thank you note
Citrus
April 22, 2016
Happy Trails To A Great Researcher, Better Friend [Opinion]
Dr. Brian Boman worked with growers to examine their nutrient and water use and how practices could be modified to not only lessen environmental impacts, but also increase growers’ profitability. Read More
reactive vs. proactive illustration from Florida Department of Citrus
Citrus
April 21, 2016
Repeat After Me: I Believe In Florida Citrus
As scientists continue to develop new and innovative ways to combat HLB, we must keep consumers in mind as well. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
May 4, 2016
$6 Million Available For Antimicrobial R…
Program to develop strategies to reduce public health risks in food chain. Read More
Citrus
May 3, 2016
New Program Targets Abandoned California…
Bayer and California Citrus Mutual have teamed up to help protect the state’s commercial citrus industry from deadly citrus greening. Read More
Citrus
May 2, 2016
As Hurricane Season Nears, South Florida…
All basins around the region experience rainfall deficits during April as totals fall far below average. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Uta…
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2016
Meet Florida’s New Crop Of Agricultural …
Annual award program recognizes farmers practicing environmentally innovative techniques. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Deception Is A Dish Best Never Served [O…
Recent mainstream media kerfuffle over local food legitimacy stirs up the need for more clearly defined terms, better awareness among consumers. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Farm Bureau Says Labor Visa Backlogs Thr…
Agency calls for swifter processing of paperwork so growers' requests for crews can be met. Read More
Citrus
April 22, 2016
Happy Trails To A Great Researcher, Bett…
Dr. Brian Boman worked with growers to examine their nutrient and water use and how practices could be modified to not only lessen environmental impacts, but also increase growers’ profitability. Read More
Citrus
April 21, 2016
Repeat After Me: I Believe In Florida Ci…
As scientists continue to develop new and innovative ways to combat HLB, we must keep consumers in mind as well. Read More
Citrus
April 20, 2016
USDA Offers $4 Million For Pest Manageme…
Funding to be used to increase crop protection practices, tackle high-priority pests. Read More
Citrus
April 18, 2016
Field Tour Provides Reality Check For Fl…
Annual event allows representatives of federal and state agencies to get an up-close look at Florida agriculture. Read More
Citrus
April 15, 2016
What We Know Now About Citrus Nutrition
Greening has changed how growers approach fertilizer programs. Read More
Citrus
April 14, 2016
Forecast: Brace For Average Atlantic Hur…
Exiting El Niño setting stage for return to normal storm activity in the tropics. Read More
Citrus
April 14, 2016
Behind The Scenes With Miss Florida Citr…
The industry's newest representative is ready to learn and advocate. Read More
Citrus
April 13, 2016
Regarding Alma Mater Matters, It’s…
You don’t necessarily have to wear your competitive edges on your sleeve to succeed, but without a passion and drive for improvement, what’s the point? Read More
Citrus
April 12, 2016
Latest USDA Forecast Says Florida Orange…
Momentum carries over big time from last month’s elevated expectation in output. Read More
Citrus
April 7, 2016
California Citrus March Attracts Hundred…
First annual Citrus Stride raises 150 tons of fresh citrus for state’s food banks. Read More
Citrus
April 4, 2016
Dry Season Conditions Finally Arrive For…
March rainfall mostly below average around region, breaking string of historically wet weather. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]