Florida grapefruit basket

In its January forecast, the US Department of Agriculture reduced its estimate for Florida orange production while holding the state's grapefruit production steady for the 2021/22 season.

Released Wednesday (12 January), the forecast projected 44.5m boxes of Florida oranges, a 1.5m box reduction from December.

Projections for boxes of Florida grapefruit remained the same at 4.1m, while estimates for Florida specialty citrus were also down 100,000 boxes, bringing the forecast to 800,000 boxes for the season.

“The disappointment of another decline in the forecast is hard to overstate,' said Shelley Rossetter, assistant director of global marketing at the Florida Department of Citrus. 'But so too is the determination of Florida’s citrus growers who remain focused on delivering great-tasting and high-quality fruit while – simultaneously – seeking new solutions to citrus greening.

“We are encouraged by the demand shown for Florida citrus at retail as Americans continue to seek out Florida orange juice for its health benefits and immune support at a rate that outpaces most previous years,' Rossetter added. 'The Department of Citrus is unwavering in its dedication to supporting grower efforts through robust marketing programmes that keep Florida Citrus top of mind and drive sales.”