|LAKELAND, Fla. (February 10, 2014) -The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) monthly forecast of the 2013-2014 Florida orange crop released Monday stayed the same at 115 million boxes.
The USDA estimated early-mid orange varieties held steady at 54 million boxes while Valencia remained at 61 million boxes.
“Growers are battling HLB on a daily basis so it’s somewhat of a relief that the crop remained the same as we shift to our Valencia harvest,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual referencing a bacterial disease spreading throughout Florida’s citrus regions. “The good news is that Congress and president Obama passed and signed a Farm Bill that contains $125 million over the next five years for citrus research.”
“The investment in our industry will most certainly pay dividends as the best and brightest minds are working to solve this puzzle.”
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. However, the federal government shutdown delayed the initial estimate until Friday Nov. 8.
During the 2012-2013 season, Florida produced 133.6 million boxes of oranges. Visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/cpfp.htm for the complete USDA estimate.
The USDA’s estimate of the 2013-2014 Florida grapefruit crop rose slightly to 17 million boxes, up from 16.5 million boxes. Specialty fruit is now at 4.3 million boxes, down 100,000. The yield for frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) remained the same at 1.61 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.