In its most recent crop report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture held Florida’s projected 2018-19 citrus crop rock steady. This season’s orange crop remained at 77 million boxes of oranges to be harvested throughout June, 6.4 million grapefruit boxes and 1.2 million boxes of tangerines and tangelos, said the USDA.
Those numbers matched the Nov. 8 prediction, but the orange forecast last month fell 2 million boxes from the USDA’s initial forecast of 79 million boxes in October while grapefruit fell 300,000 boxes. November’s tangerine and tangelo forecast did not change from October.
The Florida citrus crop began 2018-19 showing a 79 percent increase in oranges, 73 percent more grapefruit and a 60 percent rise in the tangerine/tangelo crop over the 2017-18 season, which was ruined by Hurricane Irma.
But for several seasons previously, the Florida citrus crop also showed significant declines in the early USDA forecasts because of pre-harvest drop caused by the fatal bacterial disease citrus greening. Infected trees have a harder time holding onto fruit before they can be picked.
Newschief.com reports that the next USDA update will be released on Jan. 11.