One of the final forecasts of Florida’s citrus season shows the state packing fewer grapefruit and tangerines but the same amount of oranges.
In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s May 12 forecast, agricultural statisticians said packinghouses packed 15.5 million equivalent cartons of colored grapefruit in May compared to 16 million cartons in April, a 500,000 difference. The less common white grapefruit packings remained similar to the last report at 7 million cartons.
On honey tangerines, the state packed 1.3 million equivalent cartons in May, 100,000 boxes down from April’s 1.4 million cartons. For tangelos, packers shipped 1.2 million boxes compared to the previous 1.15 million boxes, a 50,000 cartons loss.
The USDA reported Florida’s orange crop remained unchanged at 157.6 million boxes.
Mike Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Mutual, said the smaller citrus forecast hasn’t harmed quality.
“As the season winds down, Florida has produced another quality citrus crop,” he said in a news release. “Although citrus growers are facing a lot of challenges, mainly from a disease known as citrus greening, one thing consumers can count on is quality orange juice from Florida.”
Only about 4% or 7 million cartons of Florida’s oranges typically ship fresh. For Florida’s grapefruit, 41% or 10 million cartons and 57% or 4 million cartons of the state’s tangerines normally go fresh.
The state’s fresh shipping deal normally ends in May and June.
The final season report is scheduled for July 10.