USDA Predicts Slightly Larger Florida Citrus Crop in 2012-2013


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated that the Florida citrus crop will increase about 5 percent to 154 million boxes during the 2012-2013 season.

The forecast is the USDA's first of the season. It is revised monthly, as the crop takes shape, until the end of the season in July.

"The figure released by the USDA today is smaller than the private estimates circulating around the industry," said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. "It's certainly a manageable crop for Florida citrus growers, and I am hopeful at this size the market will continue to put upward pressure on fruit pricing."

"It's going to be another good year and our growers will continue to produce the best citrus products in the world."

Sparks made his comments after Florida Citrus Mutual's annual crop estimate breakfast held at Ray-Bob Groves outside of Bartow. The event, which drew about 60 growers, featured several VIPs, including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, as well as state legislators Steve Crisafulli and John Wood.

During the 2011-2012 season, Florida produced 146.6 million boxes of oranges.

The USDA's 2012-2013 early-mid estimate is 74 million boxes, down a fraction from last season. The Valencia forecast is 80 million boxes, up from the 72.4 million boxes produced in 2011-2012. For Florida specialty fruit, the USDA predicts 1.2 million boxes of tangelos and 4.4 million boxes of tangerines. Those numbers are up slightly from last season.

The yield for from concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) is 1.61 gallons per 90-pound box.

The USDA predicts Florida will harvest 20.3 million boxes of grapefruit in 2012-2013, an increase from last season's final total of 18.85 million boxes.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $9 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 76,000 people and covering about 550,000 acres. Founded in 1948 and currently representing nearly 8,000 grower members, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state's largest citrus grower organization.

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