Florida's orange production forecast to rise 5% year-over-year to 147 million boxes in 2011/2012, USDA says; grapefruit output seen at 19.2 million boxes

TALLAHASSEE, Florida , January 13, 2012 (press release) – The 2011-2012 Florida all orange forecast released today by the USDA Agricultural Statistics Board is 147.0 million boxes, down 2 percent from last month’s forecast, but 5 percent more than last season’s production. The total is comprised of 73.0 million boxes of the non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, Navel, and Temple varieties) and 74.0 million boxes of Valencia oranges.

The hurricane seasons of 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 have been excluded from the usual 10-year regression analysis and from comparisons of the current season to previous seasons. For those previous 8 seasons, the January forecast has deviated from final production by an average of 2 percent with 4 seasons above and 4 below, with differences ranging from 3 percent below to 9 percent above. All references to “average”, “minimum” or “maximum” refer to the previous 8 non-hurricane seasons unless noted.

The forecast of non-Valencia production is reduced by 2.0 million boxes to 73.0 million boxes. Final fruit size is higher than average but below the previous projection, requiring an additional 6 pieces of fruit to fill a 90-pound box. Final droppage is higher than the maximum used in the regression. The Navel forecast, included in the non-Valencia forecast, is 2.6 million boxes, 4 percent of the non-Valencia total. The Row Count survey, conducted January 3-4, 2012 showed over 80 percent of Navel rows and nearly 50 percent of the other non-Valencia rows harvested.

The forecast of Valencia production is lowered by 1.0 million boxes to 74.0 million boxes. Current fruit size is just above average and is projected to continue above average although below the previous projection. With the decreased size projection, an additional 5 pieces of fruit would be required to fill a 90-pound box. Current droppage continues just above average and is projected to be above average at harvest.

The forecast of all grapefruit production is reduced by 200 thousand boxes to 19.2 million boxes. The reduction is in the white grapefruit, now forecasted at 5.2 million boxes. The colored grapefruit forecast remains unchanged at 14.0 million boxes. White grapefruit current fruit size is below average and droppage continues to be above the maximum of seasons used in the regression. Current fruit size of colored grapefruit is below average but the projected drop is slightly lowered.

The forecast of all tangerine production is reduced 100 thousand boxes to 4.4 million boxes. The early tangerine forecast (Fallglo and Sunburst) remains at 2.4 million boxes. The harvest of Fallglo tangerines is complete and Sunburst tangerine weekly harvest has dropped below 100 thousand boxes. The reduction is in the later maturing Honey variety now forecasted at 2.0 million boxes. The primary reasons for the decrease are the smaller than projected size and higher than projected droppage.

The forecast of tangelo production remains unchanged from the initial forecast of 1.1 million boxes. The Row Count survey showed nearly half of the rows harvested. Certified utilization has reached over 500,000 boxes according to the Citrus Administrative Committee's report dated January 1, 2012.

The projection for frozen concentrated orange juice (FCOJ) is lowered to 1.56 gallons per box of 42° Brix concentrate. Last season’s final yield for all oranges was 1.586081 gallons per box, as reported by the Florida Department of Citrus. First yield projections for the components are 1.44 gallons per box for non-Valencia oranges and 1.70 for Valencia oranges.

Regular bloom fruit samples were collected from groves on established routes on January 3-4, 2012 in Florida’s five major citrus producing areas and tested January 5-6, 2012. Acid levels are lower than the previous season on all orange varieties; solids (Brix) are higher on early and late oranges. The result is higher ratios this season on all orange varieties. Unfinished juice per box this month is up for early and late oranges compared to last month, but higher than the previous season on all orange varieties. Indian River acid levels and solids (Brix) are higher on all orange varieties than in other areas, but all ratios are lower.

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