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US (FL): Third most profitable citrus crop ever

The recently completed Florida citrus harvest looks set to become the third most profitable ever.

The value of last season's citrus crop reached $1.35 billion, down 1 percent from a revised 2010-11 crop value of $1.37 billion and under the previous record of $1.5 billion in the 2006-07 season, according to the preliminary 2011-12 season summary released Thursday by the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA).

"To be in there in the top five is still an accomplishment given all the factors, such as disease, pests and weather, the growers had to deal with," said Matt Salois, director of economic and market research at the Bartow-based Florida Department of Citrus. "This is still a testament to the industry."

The economic performance is very impressive when it is considered that the cultivation is at the lowest level since 1966, when the USDA census began.

There is still time for the totals to grow as full accounting has not yet taken place.

That's because the currently reported value reflects only base contract prices growers received for their 2011-12 fruit. Actual prices, particularly for late-season oranges, rose dramatically during the season and will not show up in the USDA figure until next year.

The USDA measures the Florida citrus crop by on-tree value, which is the total cash processors and packinghouses pay citrus growers after deducting harvesting, transportation and packing costs. It represents the grower's profit from fruit sales but does not reflect grove caretaking expenses, such as the costs of non-harvest labor, fertilizers, pesticides and other farm chemicals, or land costs.

Source: theledger.com

Publication date: 9/21/2012


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