|LAKELAND, Fla. (December 11, 2012)-The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Tuesday said its estimate of the 2012-2013 Florida citrus crop has decreased more than 5 percent to 146 million boxes.
The majority of the decrease will occur in early-mid varieties which declined 7 million boxes to 67 million from the USDA’s initial October estimate. Valencias decreased 1 million boxes to 79 million boxes.
The USDA makes its first estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July.
“This decrease was not entirely unexpected as we have been hearing reports of severe fruit drop throughout the state,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “The dry weather coupled with intense disease pressure growers are facing is most likely causing the drop.”
“I anticipate the decrease in crop size will continue to put upward pressure on fruit pricing.”
Visit www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/cpfp.htm for the complete USDA estimate. During the 2011-2012 season, Florida produced 146.6 million boxes of oranges.
For Florida specialty fruit, the USDA now predicts 1.1 million boxes of tangelos, down from 1.2 million in October and 3.8 million boxes of tangerines, down from 4.4 million in October.
The yield for from concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) remained at 1.61 gallons per 90-pound box.
The USDA now predicts Florida will harvest 18 million boxes of grapefruit, down from October’s estimate of 20.3 million boxes.
The Florida citrus industry creates a $9 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 76,000 people, and covering about 550,000 acres. Founded in 1948 and currently representing nearly 8,000 grower members, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization. For more information, visit www.flcitrusmutual.com. To receive winter weather updates follow FCM on Twitter.