Despite some early skepticism over pumped-up expectations for Florida’s citrus crop in 2018-2019, the numbers have held strong and relatively steady for most of the season. The May all-Florida orange crop estimate from USDA, however, took a hit and dropped more than 4 million boxes from last month’s forecast.
That reduction marked the largest during the 2018-2019 campaign. The forecast now stands at 72.4 million boxes of oranges (30.4 million boxes of early, mid-season, and Navel varieties + 42 million Valencia). The Valencia total dropped 9% from April’s estimate.
The updated number — though reduced — represents a large jump from last season’s hurricane-hampered total of less than 45 million boxes of oranges produced. But the comeback trail remains lengthy, especially with citrus greening still along for the ride.
“Again, we see that we are not out of the woods yet in terms of recovery,” stated Shannon Ross Shepp, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Citrus, in a prepared news release. “As growers continue to work toward increased productivity, we continue to support their efforts.”
The May figures for grapefruit shrunk another 320,000 boxes, settling in at 4.58 million.
The next to last USDA citrus crop report for the 2018-2019 season is slated for June 11.