Published: Fri, December 15, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Florida citrus, still hurting from Irma, drops again in USDA forecast

Florida citrus, still hurting from Irma, drops again in USDA forecast

In the 2016-17 season, the average Florida grower spent about $1,800 per grove acre, including fertilizers, pesticides, labor and other inputs, That's based on an annual statewide survey he conducts every summer after the conclusion of the harvest. The industry has for most of the past decade been battling citrus greening disease, which is deadly to the fruit, and Hurricane Irma's path across the state decimated many growers for the current season. Rep.

"Florida Citrus growers are making decisions on next season's crop now and they need to know they have the support necessary to keep this American icon alive", Shepp said in a statement.

Many Hurricane Irma evacuees say they're apprehensive of packing up and leaving their homes again because forecast models failed to match the final track of the September storm.

Hurricane Irma continues to take its toll on Florida's orange crop.

The Dec. 12 report puts the Florida all orange forecast at 46 million 90-pound boxes, down 8% November's estimate and 33% lower than last season's final utilization.

SEPT. 15 2017
Florida citrus, still hurting from Irma, drops again in USDA forecast

The Ledger reports that when Florida will recover as the major supplier of orange juice to the USA market depends on when the state's citrus trees will return to pre-Irma production. Growing to 500,000 customers next year would represent about a 14 percent increase.

The survey also found that many Floridians entered the 2017 storm season without such things as adequate window protection, backup batteries and water supplies or failed to have evacuation plans. "Florida's growers need support and they need it as quickly as possible".

The citrus industry accounted for at least $760 million of Florida's storm-related agriculture damage. Growers are projected to produce enough Valencia oranges to fill about 27 million boxes, while the non-Valencia variety is expected to fill about 19 million boxes.

Florida's citrus growers questioned the USDA's initial forecast, saying it was too high after the serious damage dealt by Irma.

"This is exactly what we thought would happen as the true damage begins to rear its ugly head in the groves across Florida", said Michael Sparks, executive vice-president and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, the state's largest grower organisation. Growers expect those numbers to decrease through the end of the harvest in May as storm-damaged trees drop fruit before harvest.

Like this: