Your Orange Juice is definitely going to cost more

13 October, 2017, 20:05 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Florida State University

FCM said the USDA could not accurately account for the full extent of the catastrophic damage from Hurricane Irma and that historically, it has a high margin of error in crop years with a natural disaster.

"Just like when the hurricanes hit in 2004/05 and dramatically re-shaped out industry, Irma was a historic event that dealt Florida citrus a major blow".

Adam Putman, Florida's commissioner of agriculture, said Irma's path through Florida couldn't have been more lethal to the citrus crop and that quantifying damage will take longer.

Irma, which dropped as much as 17 inches of rain on citrus-growing areas in a 24-hour period, made it impossible for farmers to reach their groves, with trees destroyed and fruit dropping to the ground unharvested, the USDA said.

Putnam says farm workers in many parts of Florida have no crops to pick.

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Putnam says Florida citrus sustained more than $760 million in damage due to Irma.

The USDA makes its first estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July.

Still, the USDAs forecast was ahead of the 31 million boxes predicted by Florida Citrus Mutual, the states largest grower group, on October 10. The total grapefruit forecast is for 4.9 million boxes, with whites at 900,000 and colored at 4 million boxes. Total specialty varieties weigh in at 1m cartons.

The California forecast is also lower than last year at 35.0 million boxes (1.40 million tons), down 11 percent from last season's final utilization, while the Texas all orange forecast, at 1.65 million boxes (70,000 tons), is up 20 percent from last year. Groves are still under water in southwest Florida and state lawmakers are calling for immediate federal aid for producers.

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