Explore the USDA’s response to skepticism concerning the October Florida citrus forecast.
On October 12, like it always does, the USDA released the Florida citrus forecast (along with those for all the other citrus-producing states), but many in the industry questioned the totals of the forecast, which was down over 20 percent over last year’s total production. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, said “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.” According to a CitrusIndustry.net article, Citrus Mutual felt the USDA should have delayed the release in light of Hurricane Irma. See the response from the USDA in that article, below.
USDA on the October Florida Citrus Forecast
According to the article, Mark Hudson, a Florida state statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), said the Florida citrus forecast was released when it was mainly because of regulations. ““We have this regulation we have to follow and it has to be between the ninth and the twelfth of each month,” he explained.
It is a further point of NASS policy that the count come from the beginning of the month, so October’s Florida citrus forecast was based on conditions on October 1st. According to the CitrusIndustry.net article, all citrus forecasts are based on actual fruit counts and measurements. The objective count method uses four components:
- Bearing age trees provided from the latest Commercial Citrus Inventory
- Average fruit per tree obtained from the limb count survey using randomly selected trees and limbs
- Fruit size from the fruit measurement survey
- Fruit loss from the drop survey
“We set our numbers based on objective measurements of the Florida citrus crop. That’s what we saw looking at it,” Hudson shared. “I don’t know what the November forecast is going to be, but the data will tell us,” he added. The November forecast is scheduled come out November 9th.
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.