The Florida fresh produce industry is assessing the damage after Hurricane Irma swept across the state earlier in the week, and the early prognosis is of huge losses.
A report by the Herald Tribune suggested that as much as 75 per cent of Florida's citrus had been torn from trees during the storm.
Weakened trees and flooded groves could lead to further losses as the weeks go on, the publication quoted several citrus growers as saying.
In a statement, Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, said that the dreams of a large 75m carton crop had been left shattered.
“While the full extent of the impact is still being explored, this is definitely an event with very significant damage to the Florida Citrus industry," she noted. "Before Hurricane Irma, there was a good chance we would have more than 75m boxes of oranges on the trees this season, we now have much less.
"In some cases, growers are dealing with trees out of the ground," Shepp confirmed. "Agricultural emergency declarations exist for types of natural disasters like this."