Alarming declines in Florida citrus shipments continue.
Florida grapefruit shipments are the lowest in at least three decades and down 300,000 cartons from the previous month’s report due to El Nino weather conditions and December temperatures in the mid 80s that cut production. Some growers plan to end grapefruit loadings by March, earlier than the typical May seasonal finish.
The latest Florida citrus forecast issued by the USDA has this season’s production for the state as 29 percent lighter than last season’s crop. The tangerine forecast improved, though production for that item is still expected to be less than that from the previous season.
Orange volume for the state of Florida is expected to reach 69 million boxes of fruit for the 2015-2016 season – that’s almost a third less than the 96.8 million boxes produced during the 2014-2015 season. The forecast is in line with a trend that has the state’s orange shipments decreasing over the last several years. Of the 69 million expected boxes, 33 million are expected to be Valencia oranges.
The forecast for tangerines was increased this month to an estimated 1.5 million boxes for the season. That’s a million more boxes than were forecast for the season last month. But even with the bump, production for the season is still expected to be significantly less than the 2.3 million boxes that were produced during the 2014-2015 season.