Florida orange and grapefruit production is expected to remain steady, according to a forecast released by the United States Department of Agriculture this week.
The USDA’s March report estimates Florida orange production for 2017/18 to remain at 45m boxes, a 35 per cent decrease over last season and the lowest crop size in more than 75 years.
Florida grapefruit production remained at 4.65m boxes, a decrease of 40 per cent over last season, while there was a small increase in Florida specialty fruit, which includes tangerines and tangelos.
“With the recent passing of federal disaster recovery relief and a fresh bloom on the trees, Florida’s growers can again focus on what matters most: growing the best tasting oranges and grapefruit in the world," said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus.
Hurricane Irma had a devastating impact on the Florida Citrus industry, with growers reporting 30 to 70 per cent crop loss after its landfall on 10 September, with the southwest region of the state receiving the most damage.
The hurricane uprooted trees and left many groves sitting in standing water for up to three weeks, potentially damaging the root systems and impacting future seasons’ growth.
In October, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that Florida Citrus sustained more than US$760m in damages due to Hurricane Irma.
Prior to Hurricane Irma, Florida was expected to produce about 75m boxes of oranges this season, according to private estimates.