For the third month straight, the Florida all orange forecast has been trimmed back by USDA. The 3-million-box subtraction from last month’s forecast figures also marks the first time this season that the projected output fell below the initial prediction of 70 million boxes.
The latest orange crop estimate stands at 67 million boxes (33 million boxes of early, midseason, Navel, and Temple varieties; plus 34 million boxes of Valencias).
In a released statement, State Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam expressed his concern for the low tally. “Although not unexpected, today’s historically low forecast is the latest example of citrus greening’s continued devastation of Florida’s citrus industry. Until a long-term solution is discovered, which some of our state’s brightest minds are working on, we must support Florida’s multibillion dollar citrus industry and the more than 60,000 jobs it supports.”
The forecast for Florida grapefruit is down slightly at 8.9 million boxes.
USDA is scheduled to release its next crop report April 11.