According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commercial Inventory Preliminary Report, the 2006 citrus acreage total in Florida is 621,373, down 17 percent from the 2004 census.  The USDA put the net change at a 127,182-acre decline in overall citrus acreage.

The South Florida Business Journal reported that the decline is the greatest the USDA has disclosed for a non-freeze period in Florida and the second overall greatest such decline on record.

Additional data from the report show:

  • The total acreage for citrus trees is down 16.4 percent from the previous census to 81.9 million acres. This is a 23.5 percent decrease from the 1998 high of 107.1 million acres.

  • Polk County leads all counties in acreage while Hendry, Highlands, DeSoto and St. Lucie counties make up the top five. Combined, those counties account for nearly 55 percent of the state’s citrus acreage.

  • At 529,241 acres, orange acreage is down 15 percent from the previous census and stands only 13.5 percent higher than the 1986 record low.

  • Grapefruit acreage declined 28.8 percent to 63,419 acres, the lowest it’s been since 1966.