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Updated: 12/15/2011 04:24:49AM

USDA’s 2011-12 Florida orange crop estimate increases

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its orange crop forecast for the 2011-2012 season 2 percent Wednesday, estimating Florida will now produce
150 million boxes. The USDA’s initial October estimate pegged the orange crop at 147 million boxes.

“So far, this season has progressed as we expected,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “This increase wasn’t altogether unexpected and we are still comfortable with the USDA’s production estimates and the size of the crop.”

“Grower returns are firming up and at the current levels they are helping offset the high production costs we are experiencing due to pest and disease.”

Visit for the complete USDA estimate. The USDA makes its initial forecast in October and then revises it monthly until the end of the season in July.

The increase came due to a 2 million box increase in the Valencia crop from 73 million to 75 million. Early and mid-season varieties jumped one million to 75 million. For Florida specialty fruit, the USDA predicts 1.1 million boxes of tangelos and 4.5 million boxes of tangerines, down from 4.7 million in October.

The yield from concentrate orange juice held steady at 1.60 gallons per 90-pound box.

The USDA predicts Florida will
harvest 19.4 million boxes of grapefruit in 2011-12, down from the 20.1 million boxes estimated in October.

The Florida citrus industry creates a
$9 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 76,000 people, and covering about 550,000 acres. Founded in 1948 and currently representing nearly 8,000 grower members, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization.

For more information, visit