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US (TX): Grapefruit shippers look to catch up after slow start

After a slow start to the grapefruit season, Texas' grapefruit growers and shippers are looking to catch up during the holiday season. Despite the initial lag in the season, growers and shippers are expecting similar volumes to those from last year.

“We're running a little behind, as far as shipments,” said Ray Prewett, President of Texas Citrus Mutual. “But I think we'll be catching up soon.” Estimates put this season's grapefruit crop at 10.4 million cartons, and that's on par with last year's total volume, and Prewett said shipments will soon reflect that. Quality of fruit is expected to take a fortunate turn after a drought threatened to hamper fruit sizing.

“We had the worst drought in state history in 2011, and the effects of that lingered through to the early part of this year's growing season,” said Prewett. “We were concerned about size, but we got some good rains this fall and that helped a lot with fruit size.” Though he said sizing hasn't been the greatest, he believes fruit sizes will be on par with normal years, with the most common sizes being 48s and 40s. Prewett also thinks this year could be good for growers, if certain things break their way.

“Citrus greening is having a big impact in Florida, and though we also have it here, we don't know what it can do yet,” said Prewett. “Cold weather in California might also create opportunities.” If either of those problems cause shortages in volume in California or Florida, Prewett noted that this year's good crop in Texas could help shore up supplies of fruit.

“We're pleased with what has happened up to this point,” said Prewett, “and developments in other production areas could strengthen the market.”

For more information:
Ray Prewett
Texas Citrus Mutual
+1 956 584 1772

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