DeSoto County’s citrus producers are struggling more with Citrus Greening this growing season than with the Covid situation. While the pandemic has slammed the US economy, its fiscal consequences for citrus have been limited, especially since more consumers are reaching for Vitamin C-rich orange juice for its immune-boosting qualities.
Florida growers have controlled the spread of the COVID-19 among workers through extra effort and money. But stopping fruit drops caused by the disease has been an entirely different story.
The drops, as well as unanticipated blooms in DeSoto County, have put orange growers on track to produce 17.5% fewer of the standard 90-pound boxes compared to the 2019-2020 season and 22.75% fewer than in 2018-2019. Florida’s forecast for this year is 55.5 million boxes.