The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its latest forecast of orange production in Florida and found it unchanged from the projection made last month.
“The United States all orange forecast for the 2019-2020 season is 5.33 million tons, unchanged from the previous forecast and virtually unchanged from the 2018-2019 final utilization,” NASS noted on Tuesday. “The Florida all orange forecast, at 74.0 million boxes (3.33 million tons), is unchanged from the previous forecast but up 3 percent from last season’s final utilization. Early, midseason, and Navel varieties in Florida are forecast at 32.0 million boxes (1.44 million tons), unchanged from the previous forecast but up 5 percent from last season’s final utilization. The Florida Valencia orange forecast, at 42.0 million boxes (1.89 million tons), is unchanged from the previous forecast but up 2 percent from last season’s final utilization. California and Texas orange production forecasts were carried forward from the previous forecast.”
NASS forecast a rise in Florida grapefruit production which is now expected to rise 6.5 percent from the last prediction to 4.9 million boxes for the 2019-20 season which is almost 9 percent higher than last year.
“Today’s news is welcome for an industry that has had its fair share of ups and downs,” said Shannon Shepp, the executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, on Tuesday. “The hard work of Florida citrus growers is evident in theses numbers and on the tables of families around the world who have come to expect only the best from Florida citrus. We are proud to be a staple of holiday celebrations near and far.”
The drop in Florida citrus production in recent years has been fairly dramatic. While the 2017-2018 season was a disaster due to hurricanes, Huanglongbing (HLB), more commonly known as citrus greening, which is spread by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, has harmed citrus trees across the Sunshine State. While researches supporters by both the state and federal governments are working on solutions to the problem, citrus greening continues to devastate Florida.