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Texas grapefruit growers expecting strong year
Warm conditions in Texas are helping the grapefruit season to begin in a positive manner. Expectations are for an increase in volume for this season due to the additional warmth. "It's going to be a good year," said Martin Drewry of Paul Obst Farms. "The weather has been extremely warm this year and because of this, we are expecting a higher than average yield. Conditions have been ideal for our Rio Red grapefruit. The season started on October 1 and will carry on through to May. Quality is high and the peak of volume is anticipated to be during the December/January period."
Dale Murden, of Texas Citrus Mutual, also said that official estimates pointed to an increase in the production of Texas grapefruit this season. "This season is looking a little stronger than last year, according to the USDA report," he said. "Growers started packing in the first week of October. Rio Red represents 70% of the Texas grapefruit crop as producers have been gradually pulling away from the pink varieties. The Rio Red grapefruit is darker red and typically sweeter than other varieties."
Strong demand expected due to Florida shortage
With Florida citrus growers still recovering from Hurricane Irma, Texas producers are expecting strong demand for grapefruits this year. According to the latest USDA report, Florida grapefruit shipments are forecast to be 4.65 million boxes, which is down 40 percent from last year. Murden said this drop in Florida production is contributing to higher Texas citrus prices.
"After the hurricane activity in Florida, we will be expecting strong demand this year," he said. "With citrus production significantly down in Florida, buyers know there will be a shortage of grapefruit. Early markets are reflecting this and we are already seeing strong pricing. We expect that to continue and overall lead to a stronger year than last year in Texas."
For more information:
Paul Obst Farm
Tel: +1 (956) 782-4644
Texas Citrus Mutual
Tel: +1 (956) 584-1772
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