Florida citrus growers recorded a very slight bump in orange production in the final count of the growing season, but the industry still experienced one of its most-devastating seasons in eight decades.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a final report for the 2021-2022 season, said growers produced 40.95 million boxes of oranges, the lowest amount since the 1942-1943 season. That was up slightly from a June forecast of 40.7 million boxes — but was a 22.7% decline from the 2020-2021 season.
Similarly, grapefruit production ended the season 19.5% below the 2020-2021 total, and specialty fruits — tangerines and tangelos — were down 15.7%.
Along with greening, the industry has struggled with issues such as development pressures, increasing labor and lingering impacts from 2017 hurricanes, including Hurricane Irma, which tore through major citrus areas. The industry and state have taken a variety of steps to try to deal with citrus greening, which is more formally known as huanglongbing, or HLB.