Orange growers in Florida are facing what's forecast to be their smallest crop in 90 years. The state is expected to produce 18 million 90-pound boxes of juicing oranges this year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast last month. That's less than half of last year's crop and a 93% decline from the 1998 peak, the Wall Street Journal reports.
However, the existing short supply of Florida oranges is already driving orange juice prices up. Not-from-concentrate juice now costs more than $10 a gallon, up roughly 20% from 2016. And a poor harvest will further squeeze growers still struggling to recover from two hurricanes last year.
On top of that, since about 2005, farmers have had to fight citrus greening, a hard-to-manage disease that's spread by a flying insect and causes fruit to drop prematurely from trees.