|LAKELAND, Fla. (July 11, 2013) -The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its final forecast Thursday pegging the 2012-2013 Florida orange crop at 133.4 million boxes, down 9 percent from last season.
To arrive at the total, the USDA cut Valencias by 700,000 boxes to 66.3 million boxes while early-mid varieties climbed 100,000 boxes to 67.1 million.
“This year’s crop really shows the devastating effects of HLB, or citrus greening disease,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “We had severe fruit drop and a lot of citrus from stressed trees with HLB ended up on the ground.”
“If anything, this season provides stark evidence that growers, scientists and the state and federal governments need to work together to beat this disease and save the $9 billion Florida citrus industry and the 76,000 jobs it supports.”
“The ongoing research looks positive and I’m optimistic it will ultimately find a solution to HLB but at this time there is no cure.”
The USDA makes its initial estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July. The USDA’s initial October orange estimate for 2012-2013 was 154 million boxes. During the 2011-2012 season, Florida produced 146.7 million boxes of oranges
Visit www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/cpfp.htm for the complete USDA estimate.
The 2012-2013 Florida grapefruit crop stayed at 18.4 million boxes. Tangerines and tangelos also remained steady at 3.35 million and 1 million respectively. The yield for from concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) decreased slightly to 1.59 gallons per 90-pound box.
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, 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.