An increase in harvesting of late-season valencia oranges prompted crop statisticians to bump up the season’s orange forecast.

As Florida citrus growers finish their season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Statistics Board increased the state’s 2009-10 orange production 2 million boxes from 131.6 million boxes to 133.6 million boxes.

Citrus report shows Florida increasing late production

The June 10 report showed valencia oranges increasing from 63 million equivalent cartons to 65 million cartons.

About 90% of the valencias, which ship primarily to processed markets, have been harvested while harvesting for grapefruit is reported to be 98% done. Growers have completed tangerine harvesting.

Harvesting of early, mid-season and navel oranges has been completed.

The USDA increased its forecast of grapefruit by 400,000 equivalent boxes to 20.2 million boxes from 19.8 million boxes.

White and colored grapefruit each increased production by 200,000 cartons.

Florida’s citrus season normally begins in small volume in mid-September, ramps up in production in October and November and runs through early June.

Though 11% of Florida’s overall citrus ships fresh, 41% of its grapefruit, 57% of its tangerines and 4% of its oranges are sold through fresh channels.