(Oct. 15) Buyers should expect more oranges and tangerines but fewer grapefruit and lemons for the 2007-08 season.

In the season’s first official forecast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Oct. 12 estimated production gains in California and Florida would increase U.S. orange and tangerine production, while Florida grapefruit volume would be smaller.

Continuing its national rebound, orange production is estimated at 228.1 million boxes, up 29% from last season’s 176.2 million boxes, the USDA reported.

The increase came from higher expected Florida and California valencia volume. The two states are forecast to produce 37% and 36% respectively more volume this season while the two states combined have been forecast to produce 25% more early, midseason and navel oranges.

Total grapefruit production is expected to decline from last season’s 38.4 million boxes to this season’s 36.5 million boxes.

While California grapefruit is forecast to increase 12.5%, Florida expects to produce 8% less and Texas may pack 4% fewer fruit this season.

Increases in Florida and California production should increase U.S. tangerine volume 31% from 7.8 million boxes last year to 10.2 million boxes this season.

Though California lemon production is forecast to increase this season, a predicted 40% decline in Arizona production should push lemon production down 2.8% from 18.5 million boxes last season to this season’s 18 million boxes.

At 168 million boxes, Florida orange production is up 30.2% from last season. Though higher, the estimate is still below the 226 million box 2000-04 average but closer to the 175 million box 2003-07 average. Only about 5% of Florida’s oranges ship to fresh channels.

California’s orange production — up 29% from last season — at 58 million boxes is expected to exceed the state’s five-year 56.6 million box average.