USDA forecast on Florida citrus could show smallest crop since 1940s

“We’ve actually taken out the highs by the hurricane rise,” said Jack Scoville, vice president for cost Futures Group in Chicago. He noted of which the futures made of which to about $1.60 a pound as Hurricane Irma was hitting yet once the storm passed prices fell back to around $1.42 a pound.

Scoville said the orange juice futures market essentially is actually on edge due to “a hugely low estimate” by the Florida Citrus Mutual, a trade organization.

Before Hurricane Irma, Florida was expecting to harvest more than 75 million boxes worth of oranges, according to the Florida Department of Citrus. The Florida Citrus Mutual on Tuesday estimated the current crop will come in around 31 million boxes.

“If the crop is actually anywhere near of which tiny, even with the lousy [orange juice] demand outlook in addition to things like of which, we’ll have a chance to push the market up around $2 [a pound],” said Scoville.

McAvoy said Florida’s citrus losses are averaging about 70 percent statewide yet in some areas of the southern region the loss may be upwards of 0 percent because of which’s where the hurricane made landfall in addition to winds were strongest. “As you move north from the state, of which goes lower,” he said.

Some citrus-growing areas faced peak wind gusts between about 60 in addition to 80 miles per hour during Hurricane Irma. When including all agriculture damage statewide, the state estimates total losses to production exceeding $2.5 billion.

California 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, citrus trees continue to feel the impact of years of drought conditions as well as salt accumulation from the irrigation water.

In California, navel production for the 2017-2018 season is actually forecast to be down 11 percent by the prior season, according to USDA estimates released last month. The state’s navel crop represents around 40 percent of the state’s total citrus production.

“The California citrus crop is actually smaller than of which’s been from the past all 5 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 of which to two things: the rain from the spring knocked off a lot of blossoms in addition to … trees are still tired by the drought.”

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

“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 specific year.”

A check of several large national retailers found citrus prices on such varieties as clementine oranges haven’t commenced rising substantially, in addition to some expect global supply by Morocco in addition to Spain may keep any increases from the low single digits.

“We don’t feel like we’re going to have a whole lot of problem there,” said a top-three retail fruit buyer, who didn’t want to be identified.

Added the buyer, “We can also ship [clementine oranges] by Spain, by Morocco in addition to by some additional areas into the East Coast — in addition to we don’t have to utilize the California crop if of which’s a little bit short. For us, of which’s a global market in addition to not just singular to a state. in addition to globally we’re looking fine.”

Indeed, Nelsen concedes any citrus cost increases are unlikely to be substantial due to the global nature of the citrus production.

“You can’t go too high, because then consumers switch to alternative product,” said Nelsen. “yet you’ll still see a higher cost on California navel oranges from the market This specific year.”

The cost of fresh grapefruit also is actually likely to be higher This specific year since Florida lost a huge percentage of the crop. While Florida ranks second in orange juice production to Brazil, the Sunshine State’s grapefruit accounts for more than half of the U.S. production, according to USDA data.

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 in addition to 0 percent of the state’s citrus acreage was infected by citrus greening, which is actually 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 is actually formally known as huanglongbing.

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