The Association of Citrus growers of the Spanish province of Huelva has made a first estimate for the 2018/2019 campaign, which has already started with the harvest of the extra early mandarin varieties. According to the figures provided by the director of the association, Lorenzo Reyes, the production volume is expected to increase by 10% compared to the previous season.
While the total volume of the 2017/2018 season was 532,172 tons, Reyes believes that this year the figure will reach 590,000 tons. This significant increase is mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, the mild temperatures have prevented fruit from being lost during the setting period. Secondly, citrus growers have grafted a larger number of licensed mandarin varieties, both late and early, including the Tango, Orri and Orogrós.
After getting in touch with the members of the citrus grower organization, Reyes believes that this year's orange production will be slightly reduced, from 298,000 tons last year to 290,000 tons this time. Meanwhile, the mandarin production will increase, from 234,000 tons in the 2017/2018 season to about 300,000 tons in the current campaign.
With regard to the acreage devoted to citrus cultivation, the director of the association expects it to amount to around 18,000 hectares. 8,100 hectares (45%) will correspond to oranges and the other 9,900 (55%) to mandarins. The average yield of the plantations, both for oranges and for mandarins, is 30 tons per hectare.
Lastly, Reyes reports that the conversion of orange plantations into early and extra-early mandarin plots has slowed down. The sector continues grafting trees of licensed late varieties, which ensures that the number of hectares will be limited, since there are given production quotas. The director of the citrus organization adds that "the Clemenrubi has caused many problems in the past few seasons and growers are therefore starting to renew the plantations."