Despite the monumental challenge posed by citrus greening, Florida oranges appear to be climbing back into the fight. The latest crop estimate from USDA shows another healthy increase. That marks three months in a row of gains following an abysmal stretch of historic lows.
The estimated breakdown for May is as follows: 36.1 million boxes of early, midseason, Navel, and Temple varieties; plus 45 million boxes of Valencias.
“Well we continue to face many challenges as an industry; but the fact the estimate keeps increasing is a silver lining,” said Mike Sparks, Executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, in a news release.
State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam agreed, “Although a slight uptick in the citrus crop forecast is sorely needed after years and years of bad news, Florida’s citrus production remains nearly 70% below the peak of the late 1990s. The long-term future of Florida citrus, and its $10 billion annual economic impact, depends on a breakthrough in the fight against greening.”
The overall grapefruit estimate came in at 10.85 million boxes. This is up a tad from last month’s count of 10.7 million boxes.
The next estimate from USDA is scheduled for June 10.