According to a report released by the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service (FASS), abandoned citrus acreage in Florida is up 3%. In combination with the latest commercial citrus tree inventory, abandoned citrus groves also were identified. Experienced agricultural personnel evaluated tree condition and made an overall assessment of citrus groves contained in the maps of Florida citrus growing areas.
The Indian River District continues to lead with 51,196 abandoned acres, or 36% of the total. Increases in total abandoned acreage occurred in the Northern and Southern areas. Fourteen of the counties have more abandoned grove acres and 11 counties had an increase in understory acres. Results of this survey include 4,854 understory acres comprised of pine stands and forested areas with abandoned, unintentional, or feral citrus trees scattered under their canopy. These acres pose a potential threat as a possible source of pests and diseases.
A grove is considered abandoned when the following conditions exist: no production care during the past two years, no weed control or grass mowing, livestock present, weather damage, neglected trees that are not economically feasible to maintain, or no commercial harvest during the last two seasons. In some cases, property owners or caretakers were contacted and questioned regarding future use of their citrus groves.
The amount of abandoned citrus acreage is updated and published on an annual basis to keep pace with constant changes.
Click here to see the entire USDA report on abandoned citrus grove acreage in Florida.
In addition to this report, the Florida office of USDA’s NASS also just released: