The Florida November orange and grapefruit forecasts remained unchanged from the initial predictions for the 2014-15 season issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in October.
Florida's growers are expected to harvest 108 million 90-pound boxes of oranges and 15 million 85-pound boxes, according to the Nov. 10 estimate.
The announcement met with guarded optimism from the Bartow-based Florida Department of Citrus.
“It is still very early in the season, but if variables such as fruit size and drop rate remain favorable, today’s forecast provides another reason for confidence in the numbers we used to start the season," Marisa Zansler, chief economist, said in a news release.
"Obviously, we’ll continue to monitor the crop going forward, but continuity at this point is a good thing. What remains clear is the need to rebuild infrastructure lost as a result of citrus greening by leveraging recently announced tree-planting programs and ongoing research efforts to fight greening and recover production capacity.”
The 2013-14 season ended with 104.6 million boxes of oranges, even though it started out with a 125-million-box estimate.
Fruit drop, presumably caused by citrus greening, reduced the crop.
Only a year earlier, Florida growers harvested 133.6 million boxes of oranges during the 2012-13 season.
The USDA will issue its next estimate Dec. 10.