South Texas Citrus Shipments Should be Similar to a Year Ago

South Texas Citrus Shipments Should be Similar to a Year Ago

Texas Citrus Mutual of Mission, TX reports fresh citrus shipments should be similar to last season.

The trade association expects the industry expects to ship about 4.5 million cartons of grapefruit and 2 million cartons of oranges.

South Texas citrus harvest began in October with peak loadings of Texas citrus typically running from November through March.

Although the crop may be close last year, this is about 50% of a 20-year average. Growers are taking out older trees and planting younger trees. Quality is reported as very good.

Texas has three major fresh citrus shippers and a couple of smaller companies. Fresh shippers Lone Star Citrus and The Wonderful Company. both of Mission, TX, also have juice plants.

According to USDA reported numbers, Texas grapefruit-bearing acreage declined from 16,400 acres in 2017 to 10,500 acres in 2023.

Orange-bearing acreage also decreased, from 8,000 acres in 2017 to 5,900 acres in 2023, according to USDA data.

Within oranges, USDA numbers reported mid/navel variety acreage went from 5,800 acres in 2017 to 3,600 acres in 2023.

Valencia orange acreage declined slightly, from 2,200 acres in 2017 to 2,300 acres in 2023, according to USDA numbers.

While real estate development of citrus groves continues, some growers in Texas are in the early stages of investing in sophisticated growing technology, including growing citrus under protective screens, called the CUPS method.