A new year usually brings with it a sense of renewed hope. That’s good. Silver linings have been hard to find lately for the Florida citrus industry, but the initial crop forecast in 2020 from USDA includes a little ray of sunshine.
The government agency’s Agricultural Statistics Service is indicating a 10% increase in its estimate for the state’s grapefruit crop. The January forecast lifts the total to 5.4 million boxes, up a half million boxes from December. If the updated grapefruit crop number holds, this will be 20% more than last season’s final tally. Though the segment is still off the mark from its pinnacle in the late 1990s, movement is going in the right direction.
The USDA outlook for oranges remained steady at 74 million boxes (32 million early and mid-season varieties + 42 million Valencia). That figure has held pat since October.
“The increase in Florida grapefruit production, along with a steady number for Florida oranges, reflects an industry committed to growth,” stated Shannon Shepp, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Citrus. “Despite numerous obstacles, growers continue to work diligently to ensure Florida Citrus is available for all to enjoy.”
The next citrus crop update from USDA is scheduled for Feb. 11.