News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Thursday 4th December 2008, 04:15 Central Time

Storm aids Florida grapefruit crop

The hurricane season brought added moisture to the fruit, but high winds hindered the containment of citrus canker

Storm aids Florida grapefruit crop

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Citrus growers in the Indian River region of Florida have said that they have produced a large grapefruit crop this season as a result of Tropical Storm Fay, which hit in August this year.

It will be the first bumper crop since the 2004/05 hurricane season, with volumes estimated at 23m boxes of fruit, at a value of approximately US$200m.

Doug Bournique, executive vice-president of the Indian River Citrus League, told Florida-based WPTV that the storm's rainwater had brought the moisture required to round off the crop.

"The tropical storm came by and dropped 15 inches of rain on the east coast, and that really sized our fruit up nicely," he said. "So, because of a combination of growing conditions, the brix is higher than previous years."

However, the effects of the storm were not all positive, with high winds blowing the deadly citrus canker disease through the region.

"The harvest is a slight increase, but we have lost a lot of trees with the canker problem," said Tim Gaver of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Tropical Storm Fay resulted in blowing canker through a lot of the area, and that has created a marketing problem for us."

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