Freezes Make First Dent In Florida Orange Forecast

USDA released its January orange crop forecast for the 2010-2011 season, reducing its earlier estimate by 3 million boxes to 140 million boxes.
“The new estimate reflects fruit size which was smaller than anticipated and some preliminary effects of December’s cold weather,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “While the industry as a whole came through the cold in decent shape; we did have frozen fruit and leaf damage across most of the growing regions as well as more extensive damage in a few select areas, and this report reflects that.”
“No doubt there will be more changes to the monthly crop estimate reports as we move through the remainder of the season and the freeze damage becomes more apparent.”

The USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Florida Field Office is scheduled to release a Citrus Freeze Damage Report late afternoon on Jan. 18. The report will show results of a special survey to be conducted Jan. 10-11. Using the Federal-State Inspection standards, oranges and grapefruit will be cut and scored to record the extent of freeze damage. An assessment of leaf damage by variety and production area will also be included. Maturity tests to determine internal juice quality will be conducted on orange samples collected from groves throughout the citrus region and tested at the USDA, NASS, Florida Field Office laboratory. Additional freeze reports will be issued as needed.

Some forecast models are showing another possible freeze threat in the next week. •ºClick here for more details on that.

The USDA estimate for grapefruit remained unchanged at 19.6 million boxes.

The forecast for early and midseason varieties in Florida shrunk by 1 million to 67 million while the projection for Valencias also decreased by 2 million boxes to 73 million boxes this season. For Florida specialty fruit, the USDA’s tangelo estimate was reduced by 100,000 boxes to 1 million, while the tangerine forecast was reduced by 200,000 boxes to 4.2 million.

The all variety yield for from frozen concentrated orange juice (FCOJ) is remained at 1.61 gallons per 90-pound box, and the Valencia yield held steady at 1.70 per box.

Click here for the complete USDA estimate. The USDA makes its initial forecast in October and then revises it monthly until the end of the season in July.

Source: Florida Citrus Mutual

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