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Updated: 06/19/2014 08:00:02AM

USDA’s Florida orange crop forecast decreases

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly forecast of the 2013-2014 Florida orange crop, released this week, decreased 6 million boxes to 104.3 million boxes.

Early-mid varieties accounted for 53.3 million boxes while Valencias dropped 6 million boxes to 51 million boxes.

“This decrease is about what we expected with the continuing effects of HLB, or citrus greening, so we are not surprised,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, in a statement he issued while attending the Florida Citrus Industry annual conference. “The flip side is without the resiliency and superior production methods of the Florida citrus grower it could have been worse. The crop is still very high quality.”

More than 750 people gathered at the Hyatt Coconut Point in Bonita Springs to discuss the state of the Florida citrus industry. The annual event mixes business, industry issues and camaraderie. “Our record conference attendance, even in these trying times, is a testament to our commitment to the future of our $9 billion industry and the 76,000 jobs it supports,” Sparks said.

The USDA makes its initial estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July. During the 2012-2013 season, Florida produced 133.6 million boxes of oranges. Visit for the complete USDA estimate.

The USDA’s estimate of the 2013-2014 Florida grapefruit crop stayed at 15.6 million boxes. Specialty fruit held steady at 3.83 million boxes. The yield for frozen concentrate orange juice decreased to 1.57 gallons per 90-pound box.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $9 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 76,000 people, and covering about 525,000 acres. Founded in 1948, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization. For more information, visit