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Florida citrus crop to be up in 2011-12

by Chip Carter | October 26, 2011

A large spring bloom and heavy summer rains should lead to a bigger Florida citrus crop this season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Oct. 12 at a breakfast at Ray-Bob Groves in Alturas, FL, hosted by Florida Citrus Mutual and attended by Gov. Rick Scott, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, state Sen. JD Alexander and state Rep. Denise Grimsley, along with about 70 growers, industry representatives and other elected officials.

The USDA projected that Florida growers will produce 147 million boxes of oranges in the 2011-12 season — a 5 percent increase over 2010-11. Early and midseason varieties will make up about half the crop — 74 million boxes — while Valencias will tally 73 million boxes. The USDA predicted that Florida will harvest 20.1 million boxes of grapefruit this season — up from 19.75 million in 2010-11. Tangerine production is estimated at 4.7 million boxes, a 1 percent increase over last season, and tangelos at 1.1 million, representing a 4 percent decrease from 2010-11.

The yield for from-concentrate orange juice is expected to be 1.6 gallons per 90-pound box, up from last season’s 1.586081 gallons per box, meaning that the USDA expects Florida will produce larger fruit than last year. That is welcome news for growers since citrus size from growing areas around the world has been smaller than usual for the last 12 months — and larger fruit means larger profits. The record yield for from-concentrate orange juice is 1.672737 in the 2007-08 season.

The USDA makes its initial citrus crop forecast each October, then revises it monthly until the end of the season in July.