In the aftermath of the severe damage caused by hurricane Irma and the ongoing problems for growers caused by citrus greening, the outlook for the Florida citrus industry is difficult to say the least and this is backed up below by the USDA November forecast for the 2017-18 season .
All oranges: The USDA Florida all orange forecast released on 9th November for the 2017-18 season puts the figure at 50.0 million boxes, down 4.00 million boxes from the October forecast. This will be the lowest ever output since the 49.0 million boxes produced in the 1945-46 season if the predictions are realised. And will reflect a 27% drop against last season’s production. The forecast consists of 21.0 million boxes of the non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, and Navel varieties) and 29.0 million boxes of the Valencia oranges. The USDA Agricultural Statistics Board has applied regression data from the 2007-08 through to 2016-17 seasons and all references below to average, minimum, and maximum refer to the previous 10 seasons unless stated.
Non-Valencia oranges: The production forecast is now 21.0 million boxes, reduced by 2.00 million boxes. Current fruit size is below average and projected to be below average at harvest. Current droppage is above the maximum and is projected to be above the maximum until harvest. The Navel forecast, included in the non-Valencia forecast, is unchanged at 600 thousand boxes, and is 3 percent of the non-Valencia total. Current Navel size is above the maximum, and droppage is above the maximum.
Valencia oranges: The production forecast is reduced by 2.00 million boxes to 29.0 million boxes. Current fruit size is below average and is projected to be below average at harvest. Current droppage is above the maximum and projected to be above the maximum at harvest.
Grapefruit: The forecast of all grapefruit production is lowered 250 thousand boxes to 4.65 million boxes. This forecast, if correct, represents a 40% drop against last season’s production and the least since the 1918-1919 season of 3.50 million boxes. The white grapefruit forecast is reduced by 50 thousand boxes to 850 thousand. The red grapefruit forecast is reduced 200 thousand boxes and is now at 3.80 million boxes. Projected fruit size of white grapefruit at harvest is below average while projected droppage is above the maximum. Projected fruit size of red grapefruit at harvest is projected to be above average and projected droppage is projected to be above the maximum.