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Carl Collen


"Difficult" Florida citrus season closes

Final USDA forecast of the campaign estimates orange crop of 44.95m boxes

"Difficult" Florida citrus season closes

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In the last forecast update of the season, Florida orange production ended at 44.95m boxes and grapefruit at 3.88m boxes, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Tuesday’s report marked the end of a season that began with Hurricane Irma. Florida growers reported 30 to 70 per cent crop loss after the storm’s 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.

“This brings a very difficult citrus season to a close,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus. “We look forward to a quiet, resilient season in the fall.”

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.

The US Senate and House of Representatives passed federal disaster recovery relief as part of a larger spending bill in February.

In April, the USDA announced it will begin implementing disaster payments of up to US$2.36bn in response to 2017 hurricanes and wildfires.

Prior to Hurricane Irma, Florida was expected to produce about 75m boxes of oranges this season, according to private estimates.

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