Florida tomato shipments look to be similar to last season, while a big plunge is seen with Florida citrus.
During the 2015-16 season, which ended in June, tomato growers packed 28.2 million 25-pound equivalent cartons of mature greens and vine-ripe tomatoes, down from 36.5 million from the previous season. The decline is attributed primarily to excessive rains during the growing season. Torrential spring rains reduced yields that caused the 8 million carton shortage,
Last year, Mexican tomato imports increased 18 percent from the prior year from October to mid-June. Imported Mexican tomatoes are primarily vine ripes, while Florida’s tomatoes are mostly mature greens.
Fall plantings for this season are expected to be similar to a year ago. Florida tomato shipments will get underway in October. In fact Florida typically is shipping tomatoes most of the year, with the exception being July, August and September.
Florida Citrus Shipments
Florida citrus acreage has declined to its lowest level in nearly three generations.
On September 12th, the USDA reported the Sunshine State’s citrus acreage declined to 480,121 acres for 2015-16, the lowest since the agency began surveying acreage in 1966.
Oranges, which constitute 89 percent of the state’s citrus acreage, is the lowest since that period as are grapefruit and tangerines. In 1970, Florida growers planted 715,806 acres of oranges, 124,050 acres of grapefruit and 101,615 acres of specialty fruit or tangerines and tangelos.
Currently, oranges make up 425,728 acres, grapefruit, 40,316 acres and specialty fruit, 14,077.
Orange production is down 3.7 percent from the 2014-15 season while white grapefruit sustained the biggest loss at 17 percent for the period. Red seedless grapefruit experienced only a 4 percent decline.
Tangerine and tangelo acreage declined 17 percent respectively from the previous year.
Of the 27 citrus-producing counties, 24 recorded acreage declines.
The Indian River region produces the most grapefruit acreage while the central region leads in the production of oranges and specialty fruit.
In terms of total citrus production, the central, southern and western regions represent the biggest acreage.
Florida will have light overall shipments of produce until March or April when spring vegetables get underway. In fact the whole Southeast is pretty “dead” this time of year.
Southern Georgia vegetable shipments – grossing about $800 to Atlanta.