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US: Florida orange crop estimate downgraded

The US government has slashed the Florida orange crop forecast for the 2012/2013 season.

The crop prediction has been reduced by 8 million boxes or 5% of the original estimate. This means that now, 146 million boxes of fruit are anticipated.

This has come as a shock for some, who were expecting the reduction to be in the region of 2 to 4 million boxes.

The USDA makes its first estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July.

"This decrease was not entirely unexpected as we have been hearing reports of severe fruit drop throughout the state," said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. "The dry weather coupled with intense disease pressure growers are facing is most likely causing the drop."

"I anticipate the decrease in crop size will continue to put upward pressure on fruit pricing."

The Florida Valencia forecast of 79 million boxes is down 1 percent from October, but up 9 percent from the 2011/12 crop.

In a particularly alarming statistic, the USDA said the fruit droppage rate is projected to be the highest since the 1969-1970 season, while the fruit sizes will be below average.

Forecasts for Texas and California remain unchanged.

Source: reuters.com

Publication date: 12/12/2012


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