The forecast for all Florida orange shipments in April hasn’t changed from the March outlook, at 67 million boxes; but grapefruit shipping volume has been reduced.
Growers are battling citrus greening in the groves, resulting in the smaller crop. Following the revised USDA forecast shows the total orange volume includes 33 million boxes of the non-valencia oranges (early, midseason, and navels) and 34 million boxes of valencia oranges. Florida is the top orange-producing state in the U.S., with California second, at a projected 51 million boxes for 2016-17.
The final numbers for Florida citrus won’t be known until the end of July.
For the previous 10 seasons used in the regressions, the April all-orange forecast has deviated from final production by an average of 3 percent, with five seasons above and five below, and differences ranging from 7 percent below to 5 percent above, USDA reported.
The forecast of non-valencia production was unchanged, at 33 million boxes. The survey, conducted March 29-30, showed 99 percent of the early-midseason rows were harvested. Non-valencia estimated utilization to April 1, with an allocation for non-certified fruit, was 32.9 million boxes.
The navel forecast was lowered by 50,000 boxes at 800,000 boxes, 2 percent of the non-valencia total.
The forecast of valencia production remained at 34 million boxes. Final fruit size was close to the minimum, requiring 242 pieces to fill a 90-pound box. The survey indicated final droppage at 30 percent, slightly below the maximum. A survey showed 28 percent of the valencia rows were harvested.
The forecast of all grapefruit production was lowered 800,000 boxes to 8.10 million, with changes made in both the white and red grapefruit forecasts. The white grapefruit forecast was lowered 200,000 boxes, to 1.5 million, and the red grapefruit forecast was lowered 600,000 boxes, to 6.6 million.
Estimated utilization to April 1, with an allocation for non-certified use, of white grapefruit was 1.42 million boxes and red grapefruit, 6.24 million. Florida leads the U.S. in grapefruit production, with Texas’ projected 4.7 million boxes second.
The forecast of early tangerine varieties — fallglo and sunburst — was finalized, at 600,000 boxes with 225,000 boxes of fallglo and 375,000 boxes of sunburst. Harvest is complete for these varieties this season. The royal tangerine forecast was raised 20,000 boxes to 240,000. The later-maturing honey tangerine forecast was raised 130,000 boxes, to 520,000. California’s projected 22 million boxes of tangerines and tangelos leads the U.S., with Florida second, at 1.64 million.
The tangelo portion of the all tangerine forecast remained at 280,000 boxes. Estimated utilization to April 1 is 277,000 boxes, which included an allocation for non-certified fruit.