This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statics Service (NASS) released its latest outlook for Florida citrus and downgraded their projections slightly.
The new forecast, which was released on Thursday, for the 2020-2021 season is 4.60 million tons, down 1 percent from the last forecast and down 12 percent from last season.
The Florida all orange forecast, at 56.0 million boxes (2.52 million tons), is down 2 percent from the previous forecast and down 17 percent from last season’s final utilization. In Florida, early, midseason, and Navel varieties are forecast at 22.0 million boxes (990,000 tons), down 4 percent from the previous forecast and down 26 percent from last season’s final utilization. The Florida Valencia orange forecast, at 34.0 million boxes (1.53 million tons), is unchanged from the previous forecast but down 10 percent from last season’s final utilization.
NASS also forecast 4.4 million boxes of Florida Grapefruit, down from 4.5 million in the last forecast.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried weighed in on the new numbers on Thursday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that consumers are seeking to boost their immunity, turning to the health benefits that Florida citrus. With citrus as a powerful source of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber, Florida’s citrus growers are working hard to fulfill market demand for oranges, grapefruit, and specialty citrus. With these projections in line with an expected smaller 2020-21 citrus crop, we at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stand ready to support our proud citrus growers with research, innovation, and partnership,” Fried said.