The Florida citrus industry got welcome news with the release of the USDA’s Ag Statistics Service May Report. The report showed an increase in the estimate for the “all oranges” category by 1% or 300,000 boxes from the previous month. At 110.3 million boxes, the figure is still 17% below last season’s final production number.
The “all oranges” total includes 53.3 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, Navel, and Temple varieties) and 57.0 million boxes of Valencia oranges. For the previous eight seasons (removing hurricane seasons 2004-2005 and 2005-2006), the May forecast has deviated from final production by an average of 2% with five seasons below and three above, and differences ranging from 3% below to 3% above.
“This is good news and we are hopeful there will not be any more decreases throughout the last two months of season,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “It has been a challenging season to say the least but growers continue to produce quality fruit, which is a testament to their resiliency.”
However, the news was not as good for grapefruit.The category continued to slip with production lowered 400,000 boxes to 15.6 million boxes. The white grapefruit forecast is raised 100,000 boxes and is now 4.1 million boxes, while the colored forecast is decreased 500,000 boxes, and is now 11.5 million boxes. The Row Count survey showed more than 99% of the white grapefruit and more than 98% of the colored grapefruit have been harvested.
The forecast of all tangerine production is unchanged at 2.95 million boxes. The Row Count survey showed 96% of the Honey tangerines have been harvested. The completed tangelo harvest came in unchanged from last month at 880,000 boxes.