Citrus forecast sees small decrease

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A federal forecast of Florida’s citrus crop dipped slightly from October to November, according to numbers released Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected the state’s growers will fill 84.6 million 90-pound boxes -- a standard measurement -- over the next eight months, nearly 3 percent less than forecast in October.

Mark Hudson, a state statistician for the department, said the estimate dropped, in part, because citrus grown this year on average has been smaller than in past years.

The current projection has the state filling 77 million boxes of oranges, 6.4 million boxes of grapefruit and 1.2 million boxes of tangerines and tangelos.

The October forecast, the first of the 2018-2019 season, had Florida growers filling 79 million boxes of oranges and 6.7 million boxes of grapefruit.

The forecast is still well above the 49.58 million boxes of citrus produced during the 2017-2018 season, when the industry sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Irma.