Four reports summarizing Florida citrus industry survey-collected data during the 2019–2020 season are available here. The reports include the average cost of production for processed oranges, harvesting charges, custom rate (or caretaking) charges and packing charges. The estimates presented in those reports, as well as those available for previous seasons, document the changes in the industry as it tries to adapt to remain profitable.
The first report includes estimates on the average caretaking and total cost of production for processed oranges in Southwest Florida during 2019–2020, which were $1,722 and $2,095 per acre, respectively; down $125 and $175 per acre compared to last year. The reduction in cost was a rational response to the significant decrease in fruit prices.
Since growers are price takers, their typical response to lower prices is to adjust the level of inputs in their groves. The largest input reductions were in fertilizer and foliar nutrients. An interesting finding was that the spending on insecticides increased by $54 per acre compared to 2018–2019 — when growers had reduced such an expense by a similar amount. Therefore, they have reversed that decision this season.
By Ariel Singerman
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