While excessive heat and untimely rains during the growing season, After a lighter-than-normal start in late October, Florida’s tomato shipments started accelerating in mid-November.
Florida tomato shipments are now shifting from Central to Southern Florida and will continue into the winter. Peak volume from Sinaloa, Mexico and South Florida is coming as volume ramps up volume in December.
Last year, there was 25.9 million 25-pound equivalent containers of round tomatoes shipped.
This represents a 21 percent decrease compared to the previous season and the smallest crop on record since 1976-77, when a freeze knocked out Florida’s winter crop.
The significant volume reduction in 2017-18 was mainly due to the result to the fall crop caused by Hurricane Irma.
Florida orange shipments have been downgraded to 77 million boxes, off 3 percent from October in a new estimate.
The USDA adjusted estimate also includes other citrus. Early, midseason and navel varieties are forecast at 32 million boxes, down 6 percent from last month, according the USDA crop report released November 8th. Valencias are forecast at 45 million boxes, unchanged from last month’s estimate.
The grapefruit crop forecast decreased by 300,000 to 6.4 million.
While some of the projections have been lowered, the numbers still represent a very significant improvement on the 2017-18 season, when the crop was devastated by Hurricane Irma in September.
California is estimated to ship 49 million boxes of oranges, up from 45.4 million last year. The state is expected to have 40 million boxes of early, midseason and navel varieties, up from 35.9 million last year.
Texas is forecast to ship 1.8 million boxes of early, midseason and navel varieties and 600,000 boxes of valencia oranges.
The USDA projected 3.9 million boxes of grapefruit from California, down slightly from last season. Florida is expected to produce 6.4 million boxes, including 5.3 million of red grapefruit and 1.1 million of white grapefruit. Texas is forecast to have 6.2 million boxes of grapefruit this season, up from 4.8 million in 2017-18.
California is expected to increase mandarin and tangerine production from 19.2 million boxes to 23 million boxes, and Florida’s volume is forecast to grow from 750,000 boxes to 1.2 million boxes.
Arizona is projected to produce 1.4 million boxes of lemons, up from 1 million last year. California’s production is expected to dip slightly from 21.2 million to 20 million.