Citrus production in the Northern Hemisphere — the U.S. and the Mediterranean basin — will likely be about the same as last season, according to a recent forecast.

About 22 million tons are expected to be produced in 2009-2010, a half percent more than last year, according to Brussels, Belgium-based Freshfel Europe.

About 4.5 million tons are forecast for the U.S. in 2009-2010, up from 4.4 million the season before.

By contrast, according to an Oct. 9 forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, overall U.S. citrus production is forecast to decline this upcoming season on all varieties except for tangerines, California oranges and Texas valencias. The forecast predicts production drops in all varieties of Florida oranges and all U.S. grapefruit.

According to the Freshfel report, in the Mediterranean basin, a big drop is forecast for the regional citrus leader, Spain. Freshfel projects a crop of 5.4 million tons, 20% less than in 2008-2009.  The No. 2 producer, Italy, however, could see an increase of 36%, from 2.7 million to 3.7 million tons.

The No. 3 Mediterranean producer, Turkey, could see 9% boost. The No. 4 producer, Egypt, could have a 5% increase. 

Orange production in the Northern Hemisphere, at 11.6 million tons, is expected to be up about 1% from last year. Orange production is expected to rise in Italy (up 53%), the U.S. (up 11%) and Egypt (up 5%). Turkey’s orange production is projected to be flat, while Spain’s could call 27%.