The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its latest look at orange production on Tuesday.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) lowered the forecast of total oranges 1 percent.
“The United States all orange forecast for the 2018-2019 season is 5.48 million tons, down 1 percent from last month but up 40 percent from the 2017-2018 revised final utilization,” NASS noted on Tuesday. “The Florida all orange forecast, at 76.5 million boxes (3.44 million tons), is down 1 percent from last month but up 70 percent from last season's revised final utilization. Early, midseason, and Navel varieties in Florida are forecast at 30.5 million boxes (1.37 million tons), down 2 percent from last month but up 61 percent from last season's final utilization. The Florida Valencia orange forecast, at 46.0 million boxes (2.07 million tons), is unchanged from last month but up 76 percent from last season's revised final utilization.”
NASS also revised its forecast for Florida grapefruit production, dropping the expected crop by almost 10 percent, lowering expectations by 500,000 boxes. The new Florida grapefruit production stands at 4.9 million boxes.
Shannon Shepp, the executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, noted that the Sunshine State had rebounded from an awful 2017-2018 harvest.
“We’re an industry catching glimpses of recovery, but this estimate certainly points out that we are not there yet,” said Shepp. “It’s still a great year, but we are anxious for better.”
“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 Florida Department of Citrus noted.