Thanks to Hurricane Irma there will be a significant drop in Florida avocado shipments this season. As much as 60 percent of the volume may have been lost.
Most shipments will be get underway during the first half of June. Caution is recommended to Florida avocado haulers to be aware of possible wind scarring of the fruit and make sure their receivers are aware of it. However, most shippers are contending fruit quality overall is good.
Brooks Tropicals of Homestead, FL points out avocado trees have shallow roots and were hit hard by the storm.
J&C Tropicals of Miami, FL expects volume to be slashed by roughly 50 percent because of the September storm that ravaged agriculture across the state.
Unity Groves Corp. of Homestead, FL may have lost 50 to 60 percent of its normal crop, with about 25 percent of its avocado trees were toppled by the winds/ The tree will be out of circulation for 2 to 3 years. The company started shipping at the beginning of June and has increased its avocado acreage about 15 percent.
New Limeco of Princeton, FL is just starting to ship with the crop about two weeks behind last season. Apparently demand is so high in South Florida for the first pickings of avocados, that few rarely get out of the county. By mid- to late June there are higher volumes with much wider distribution.
About 10 percent of Florida avocado acreage has been lost to laurel wilt since 2012, with diseased trees being removed and adjacent trees being taken out as well to try and slow the spread of the disease. The vector is the ambrosia beetle. Hurricane Irma likely exacerbated the effects of laurel wilt.
The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate also continues to affect produce companies across the country as some shippers say the requirements have made transportation more complicated and more costly.