The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its latest look at orange production on Friday, lowering the forecast at the state and national levels.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) lowered the forecast of total oranges 3 percent and the Florida all orange forecast 5 percent from last month.
“The United States all orange forecast for the 2018-2019 season is 5.30 million tons, down 3 percent from last month but up 35 percent from the 2017-2018 final utilization,” NASS noted. “The Florida all orange forecast, at 72.4 million boxes (3.26 million tons), is down 5 percent from last month but up 61 percent from last season's final utilization. Early, midseason, and Navel varieties in Florida are forecast at 30.4 million boxes (1.37 million tons), down slightly from last month but up 60 percent from last season's final utilization. The Florida Valencia orange forecast, at 42.0 million boxes (1.89 million tons), is down 9 percent from last month but up 61 percent from last season's final utilization. The California and Texas orange production forecasts were carried forward from the previous month.”
Florida grapefruit production also continued to drop as NASS lowered its forecast by 320,000 boxes from last month, reducing the number to 4.58 million boxes.
Shannon Shepp, the executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, weighed in on the revised numbers early on Friday afternoon.
“Again, we see that we are not out of the woods yet in terms of recovery,” said Shepp. “As growers continue to work toward increased productivity, we continue to support their efforts through the marketing of delicious and nutritious Florida Citrus.”
“The numbers remain an increase from the previous season, devastated by Hurricane Irma, when production dropped to 45.05 million boxes of Florida Oranges and 3.88 million boxes of Florida Grapefruit,” the Department of Citrus noted.