Florida Citrus Updates October 16, 2017

The USDA has released its latest figures for the new Florida citrus season, which includes the current fruit droppage assessment following Hurricane Irma. Depending on the region, many had suggested somewhere between 40-75% losses but the USDA put its calculations around 50% (specifics below).

Prior to Irma it had already expected some output losses due to fewer fruit-bearing trees and smaller fruits. The impact of Hurricane Irma will no doubt show greater losses to output in future forecasts as some of the latest figures take into account pre-Irma conditions.

Florida All Orange Production Down 21 Percent

Florida All Grapefruit Production Down 37 Percent

Florida All Tangerine and Tangelo Production Down 38 Percent  

Orange Droppage after Hurricane Irma Down 45-49% (depending on fruit type)

Grapefruit Droppage after hurricane Irma Down 53 and 54% (White and Red respectively)

However you look at it, the numbers show great losses for the region, which is already struggling with the pressures from Citrus Greening.  With Brazil already playing catch-up to cover outstanding contract commitments from the last season the markets have continued to remain firm and are expected to do so for some time.

The USDA assessed the conditions leading up to this season as follows:

“The citrus growing region was drought-free at the start of the 2017-2018 citrus growing season. In January, the region started showing abnormally dry conditions. By February, bloom had begun and was full in some areas. Other areas held off and showed only light and scattered bloom. In March, the Southern citrus growing area was in moderate drought conditions, while the Northern area remained abnormally dry. During these times of dry weather, citrus groves required the use of irrigation systems. Temperatures were above average for the majority of the season. Precipitation returned for the summer months to keep all areas drought-free. In September, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida at Marco Island and went up through the Western side of the citrus belt. The hurricane left some areas flooded and extremely wet.”

You can see some of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma in this earlier news article from Fox News.