BARTOW – Florida Orange and Grapefruit production is expected to remain steady, according to a forecast released by the United States Department of Agriculture Thursday.
The USDA’s March report estimates Florida Orange production for 2017-18 to remain at 45 million boxes, a 35 percent decrease over last season and the lowest crop size in more than 75 years. Florida Grapefruit production remained at 4.65 million boxes, a decrease of 40 percent over last season. There was a small increase in Florida specialty fruit, which includes tangerines and tangelos.
“With the recent passing of federal disaster recovery relief and a fresh bloom on the trees, Florida’s growers can again focus on what matters most: growing the best tasting oranges and grapefruit in the world,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus.
Hurricane Irma had a devastating impact on the Florida Citrus industry. Florida growers reported 30 to 70 percent crop loss after Hurricane Irma’s landfall on September 10, with the southwest region of the state receiving the most damage. The hurricane uprooted trees and left many groves sitting in standing water for up to three weeks, potentially damaging the root systems and impacting future seasons’ growth.
In October, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that Florida Citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages due to Hurricane Irma.
Prior to Hurricane Irma, Florida was expected to produce about 75 million boxes of oranges this season, according to private estimates.
About the Florida Department of Citrus
The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs 45,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $8.6 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.