Read a grower’s response to the first USDA Citrus Forecast and thoughts for the season.
In the first half of October, the first USDA Citrus Forecast came out, and it raised a stir in the Florida citrus industry. Industry leaders like Florida Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam and Citrus Mutual, the largest citrus growers’ group, questioned the accuracy of the first USDA Citrus Forecast in light of Hurricane Irma. The USDA responded to that skepticism, and a Florida citrus grower has as well. Read what he had to say in a CitrusIndustry.net article, below.
A Grower’s Take on the USDA Citrus Forecast
Grower Kevin Shelfer of Joshua Citrus shared his thoughts on the first USDA Citrus Forecast: “I feel like the (USDA) number is way higher than what I personally think it is,” he said in the article.
The forecast predicted the the season’s end total to be at 54 million boxes, down 21 percent over last year’s end harvest of 68.5 million boxes of citrus. However, despite the huge decrease, growers like Shelfer still believe the latest forecast to be too high. “I had in mind it would probably be in the mid-30s to 40 (million boxes),” he shared.
Shelfer based his estimates on the damage done by Hurricane Irma to his groves in DeSoto County, which the article maintains he estimated to be 50 percent. “The ones on the eastern side of the county got the worst hit,” he said in the article. “We lost 100 percent in a lot of places, especially in our navels and grapefruit. And our earlier varieties were totally lost … We lost all of our tangerines in the eastern part of the county. Back toward the west, we lost navels and some Minneolas, probably about 60 percent, but round oranges seemed to do a lot better in the western part of the county.” He added that he believes that continuing losses—that fruit is still falling off trees in places—could make the totals even lower.
While the low USDA Citrus Forecast and the even lower grower guesstimates are not positive news, Shelfer is still optimistic about the future of Florida’s citrus industry. In the article, he claims his optimism remains “because a lot of people are still planting. We’re still planting trees … I think the future’s very optimistic.”
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.