The 2020-2021 orange crop for the São Paulo and West-Southwest Minas Gerais citrus belt is estimated at 287.76 million boxes of 40,8 kg, according to the online announcement made today (May 11) by Fundecitrus. This number is 25.6% smaller than the previous crop of 386.79 million boxes, and 12.5% below the average crop size for the last 10 years. Approximately 20.56 million boxes are expected to be produced in the Triângulo Mineiro.
Expected yield is estimated at 790 boxes per hectare, as compared to the 1,045 boxes per hectare in the previous crop.
“It is a small crop, considering the productive potential of groves, but that is due to the biennial production cycle of orange trees”, explains Fundecitrus general manager Juliano Ayres. “Since the previous crop was large, nutrient reserves this year are smaller. In addition, climatic conditions were adverse during fruit setting and the first phase of fruit growth,” he states.
Influence of the climate and late blooms
Crop loss was caused by a reduced number of fruits per tree in comparison to the previous crop. The large production in the previous season increased the consumption of nutrient reserves in plants, which became scarce and triggered the phenomenon known as alternate bearing. Furthermore, the climate was also a negative influence: high temperatures in September and October 2019 affected the setting of newly formed fruit.
Adverse climatic conditions were also seen in March and April 2020, affecting fruit at a more advanced stage of development. According to data from Somar Meteorologia, the accumulated rainfall volume in that period was not even half the historical average (1981-2010), which restricted fruit growth.
Dry weather in March and April 2020 restricted the growth of fruits that should still be small at harvest. Oranges are expected to weigh 159 grams at harvest.
Alternate bearing in regions
Yield per sector this crop season, as compared to last year’s, shows significant variations among locations. The Northwest sector, encompassing the regions of Votuporanga and São José do Rio Preto, ranks first in yield drop. 492 boxes per hectare expected to be produced in that sector represent a drop of 46.7% in relation to the 2019-2020 crop. Next comes the North sector (regions of Triângulo Mineiro, Bebedouro and Altinópolis), with an expected yield of 686 boxes per hectare (-35.9%); then the Central sector (regions of Matão, Duartina and Brotas), with 721 boxes expected per hectare (-30.1%); the South sector (regions of Porto Ferreira and Limeira), with 781 boxes expected per hectare (-16.5%); and the Southwest (regions of Avaré and Itapetininga), where 1.185 boxes should be harvested per hectare (-2.7%).
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