The first USDA citrus forecast has been released, and Florida industry leaders react.
The USDA released its first monthly citrus forecast for Florida citrus, and there are few good things about it. As was expected, the citrus forecast was down significantly from last year’s harvest numbers. Additionally, many industry leaders, such as Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, believed that the damage from Hurricane Irma was not adequately accounted for in the forecast, meaning the numbers could be significantly lower. See details of both the citrus forecast release and reactions below.
Citrus Forecast for Florida Citrus
In the October 12th citrus forecast, the USDA predicted the 2017-2018 would end with a total of 54 million boxes, according to a Citrus Industry article. Furthermore, the article maintained the first forecast of the season was down 21 percent when compared to the final production of the 2016-2017 season totals.
Highlights from the forecast include:
- Non-Valencia oranges at 23 million boxes.
- Valencia oranges at 31 million boxes.
- Grapefruit at 90 million boxes, which is down 37 percent over last year’s grapefruit totals.
More Negative News
As if the low forecast was not enough, industry leaders expressed their belief that, in light of the damage to citrus done by Hurricane Irma, the forecasts are actually too high. According to the Citrus Industry article, both Citrus Mutual and Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam expressed reservations that the USDA forecast was too high.
In a release on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ website, Comm. Putnam said, ““Hurricane Irma’s path could not have been more lethal to Florida citrus. I am concerned that today’s forecast does not accurately estimate the damages to our industry, given that groves are still under water and fruit is still dropping from trees. It’s important to recognize that the damage to Florida citrus is still unfolding, and will continue to for some time.
“One thing is clear, Florida’s growers need support and they need it fast. I will continue to work with leaders in Washington to get Florida’s growers the support and relief they need to rebuild as quickly as possible. There is no group of people more stubborn or more resilient than Florida’s growers, and we will get through this together.”
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.