Harvest: February - May
According to the USDA June 2023 forecast, total USA orange 2022-2023 production is estimated at 61.90 million boxes (M. boxes):
- 15.75 M. boxes for Florida, with 6.15 M. boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, mid-season, and Navel varieties), and 9.60 M boxes of Valencia oranges
- 45.10 M. boxes for California, with 37.00 M. boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, mid- season, and Navel varieties), and 8.10 M. boxes of Valencia oranges
- 1.05 M. boxes for Texas, with 700,000 boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, mid-season, and Navel varieties), and 350,000 boxes of Valencia oranges.
USA total production is estimated down 24% compared to last season’s final production. Citrus growing region has experienced cold temperatures at the beginning of the bloom period causing widespread freeze damage to leaves, twigs and bloom in many groves. Dry weather followed leading to moderate drought in all areas. These unfavourable weather conditions caused the fruit set to be less and the fruit sizes to be smaller than most seasons.
Until 2015, oranges consistently made up over 70% of citrus production in the United States by volume. Since 2000, total domestic production of oranges has dropped 80%, from 300 M. boxes to a projected 62 M. boxes in 2023. The bulk of oranges, 84%, available for domestic consumption is used in juice, with most of the remainder being consumed fresh.
Particularly, all Florida production is estimated down 62% compared to last season’s final production. Many factors contribute to the decrease of orange production in Florida. Apart from severe weather conditions, which affects Florida during the hurricane season, citrus greening represents a huge impact on orange production. Citrus greening was first detected in Florida in 2005. Since 2005, orange production in Florida has dropped 90%, from 150 M. boxes to a mere 16 M. boxes expected in 2023.
Weather and plant diseases are not the only factors driving down citrus production in Florida. Demand for new housing, associated businesses and infrastructure has reduced the percentage of land dedicated to agriculture, rangeland and forestry. Between 2002 and 2017, the number of citrus growers in Florida decreased 62%, and the number of juice processing facilities decreased 66%.
Since Florida processes about 90% of their crop, the lower production volume will affect the global supply of juice and orange oil and other by-products. The orange oil price is on the increase not only due to the imbalance of demand and supply but also due to inflation and the increase of labour and maintenance costs of the groves and trees.
This year is expected to be the first in which California produces more oranges than Florida, with California expected to produce 45 M. boxes or 72% of all domestic oranges. Before 2014 Florida consistently produced over 70% of the nation’s oranges. California’s commercial citrus crop is geographically immune to the impact of South-eastern hurricanes and has been spared from citrus greening. Drought conditions, and more recently high-precipitation events, have pressured orange yields in California, though production has held steady between 40 million and 65 million boxes since 2000.
USA ESTIMATED ORANGE PRODUCTION 2019/2020 TO 2022/2023 FORECAST (‘000 BOXES)
The orange oil market remains firm, with strong demand and supply at historical low volumes. And until safety stocks are recovered it is unlikely that oil producers will be able to keep up with worldwide demand alongside other variables, including inconsistent weather and global events. Thus, price is on the increase, not only due to the imbalance of demand and supply, but also to inflation and to an increase in labour and maintenance of the groves and trees costs.
Market prices USD 20.00 /kilo