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Rains in Texas more beneficial to citrus than nuisance

After receiving fifteen and a half inches of rain over twelve days, many reports stated that the Texas citrus crop appeared to be in danger. However, the recent rains are only a short term nuisance to citrus growers. “It’s the rainfall in August and September that really make or break us,” states Trent Bishop, Vice-President of Sales at Lone Star Citrus Growers. “The long term benefits of the rain far exceed the short term inconvenience.”

While the Texas crop volume will generally remain the same, Lone Star Citrus Growers prides itself on utilizing as much of the crop for the fresh market as possible, rather than diverting it to the juice plant. “We are very focused on utilizing as much of the crop as possible, and this year will be no exception. We’re entering the market during a vacuum. The California summer crop has wrapped up, so there is essentially no fresh grapefruit in the market. Demand is strong, but it will take a period of time for Texas to fill the supply pipeline.”

Texas competes mainly with California and Florida for citrus sales. Lone Star Citrus’s crop is divided at seventy-five percent grapefruit and twenty-five percent oranges. The California navel crop is forecast to come off earlier than normal this year, so that will add a dynamic to the market not seen in the last few years. “With the dire water situation in California and last year’s cold winter, I was surprised to hear how early California’s navel crop seems to be.”

Usually Florida is the main contender for competition. “Florida shippers have an advantage in freight rates east of the Mississippi.” Therefore Texas citrus is at a geographic disadvantage getting their fruit to market on the East Coast. Although not completely absent in the East, The Texas citrus industry enjoys a freight advantage over Florida to the Midwest and areas further west. “We sell to the entire western half of the United States. Plus, we export our citrus to Canada, China, and Japan. We have even had some inquiries from Europe this summer due to some export limitations in Florida.”

Lone Star Citrus Growers is very excited about the upcoming 2014-2015 Texas citrus season. “We always look forward to a great season. This year is no exception. The market appears to be well suited for our arrival, and our customer base seems to be eager to receive the world’s best tasting red grapefruit.”

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