Florida citrus production costs are the highest in history and could continue to climb as growers battle exotic diseases. That was the focus of a presentation by citrus economist Dr. Ron Muraro, UF/IFAS, at the recent International Citrus and Beverage Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL.
Muraro said citrus production costs have increased more in the past eight years than any time period in four decades. He reported statewide, growers are spending up to an average of $1,700 an acre on disease management, irrigation, fertilizer and tree re-plantings. That’s up from $771 an acre just eight years ago. In some regions, growers are spending more than $2,100 an acre.
The news came as no surprise to the industry which is locked in a battle with several diseases including canker, black spot, and HLB.
“We are lucky fruit prices have been firm over the past two seasons because growers are spending more and more to keep these diseases at bay,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “We are doing a good job managing them however it is expensive and cuts into a grower’s bottom line.”
The IFAS report blames the increased costs in part on world demand for fertilizer and high energy and chemical costs. You can view the entire presentation at http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/citrus/.