April Citrus Forecast Slips to 18.8 Mil. Boxes of Oranges

Bartow, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its April 2024 citrus crop revised forecast for the 2023-2024 harvest season today. Florida citrus growers are expected to harvest 18.8 million boxes of oranges this season. Additionally, the USDA forecasted 2 million boxes of grapefruit and 500,000 boxes of tangerines and tangelos.  

Though the forecast for oranges is a 5% decrease from last month’s forecast of 19.8 million boxes, some remain optimistic.

“While this month’s USDA citrus forecast shows a dip in production, optimism blooms among Florida citrus growers,” said Matt Joyner, CEO at Florida Citrus Mutual. “Growers are witnessing improved tree health and “snow white” orange blossoms in the groves – a tell-tale sign that there’s hope for Florida’s citrus industry to make its great American comeback.”

Disease-resistant varieties and new treatment methods are proving effective and instilling new hope in Florida’s citrus growers. Growers hope to see the improved health of Florida’s citrus trees reflected in the USDA citrus crop estimate over time.

Last month, the Florida Legislature passed a state budget including more than $47 million in support of Florida citrus. Funding includes $18 million to support research for citrus treatments and therapies, $8.3 million toward the Citrus Health Response Program and $2 million to support the budwood program. Florida Citrus Mutual applauds Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson and Senate-President Designate Ben Albritton for championing these investments to revitalize Florida’s signature crop. 

The budget awaits the Governor’s approval. If funding is approved, it will be implemented beginning July 1. 

At its peak during the 1997-98 season, the citrus industry produced 244 million boxes of oranges. The USDA’s April forecast for the 2023-2024 season represents just 7.7% of the industry’s peak production. Fostering a robust citrus industry through advocacy, research, resources and proactive initiatives is crucial for fruitful seasons head.  

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