Orange juice futures fall as USDA pegs Florida crop higher than feared

In Florida, some citrus-growing areas faced peak wind gusts between about 60 along with also 80 miles per hour during Hurricane Irma. As a result, total citrus losses are supposed to exceed $760 million, the state’s agriculture agency announced Oct. 4.

Florida’s orange crop production peaked about 15 years ago due in part to “citrus greening” disease. Last year, a study by the University of Florida estimated between 80 along with also 0 percent of the state’s citrus acreage was infected by citrus greening, which can be spread primarily by an insect the size of a grain of rice.

Major citrus growing regions of California also are fighting against citrus greening, which can be formally known as huanglongbing.

In California, the orange crop also has suffered due to weather-related impacts. Heavy rains from the spring helped end the state’s historic drought in most agricultural regions yet also caused loss of blooms. Also, the citrus trees continue to feel the impact of years of drought conditions as well as salt accumulation from the irrigation water.

The USDA forecasts the California navel crop will be down 11 percent coming from last season’s final total. California’s navel crop represents around 40 percent of the state’s total citrus production.

Due to the smaller crop in Florida along with also California, some are predicting higher prices for oranges This particular season at the nation’s supermarkets. California’s orange crop can be primarily sold to the fresh market although a modest portion gets processed for additional purposes.

“The California citrus crop can be smaller than the idea’s been from the past several or six years,” said Joel Nelsen, president of the California Citrus Mutual, which represents more than 80 percent of the state’s citrus industry. “We’re attributing that will to two things: the rain from the spring knocked off a lot of blossoms along with also … trees are still tired coming from the drought.”

Still, Nelsen expects there will be enough mandarin along with also California navel oranges to meet demand for the winter holidays yet prices will be higher due to Florida’s woes.

Nelsen, who spoke to CNBC on Wednesday, added: “The unfortunate situation in Florida has reduced what little fresh tonnage they had in terms of oranges, so our prices are going to be a little higher This particular year.”

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