There’s no arguing that Florida’s citrus industry is in the fight of its life, and the first citrus forecast of the season issued by the USDA on October 12th showed how dire the situation is. Yet, despite the low harvest numbers predicted for the 2016-17 citrus harvest, Florida’s citrus growers should see many bright sides and silver linings to the upcoming harvest.

Details of the First Citrus Forecast

On October 12th, the USDA’s first citrus forecast released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), predicted Florida’s total citrus harvest for 2016-17 to be 70 million boxes of oranges. The breakdown was:

  • Non-Valencia oranges are forecast at 34 million boxes
  • Valencia oranges were forecast at 36 million boxes
  • Grapefruit forecast is 9.6 million boxes
  • Tangerines and tangelos, combined, are forecast at 1.65 million boxes

The forecast, if accurate, will represent a drop of 14 percent over last year’s 81.5 million boxes.

Citrus Industry Optimism

Despite the lower first citrus forecast, most growers were pleased with the prediction, according to an article from Most growers were expecting the first forecast to be significantly lower, so the higher forecast was a pleasant surprise. For instance, Kissimmee-based citrus consultant Elizabeth Steger forecast 60.5 million boxes of citrus in the first half of August, and postbloom fruit drop has added further worries that the forecast would be very low.

Growers have other reasons to be optimistic as well. In the Citrus Industry article, Ray Royce, executive director of Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, said that he suspects that the total will be even higher at the end of the season than the initial estimate. An encouraging study on the ability of the bactericide oxytetracycline to combat the bacteria that causes citrus greening, as well as a number of grower incentive programs, are all behind the optimism in the Florida’s citrus industry.

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.