USDA NASS released its revised citrus production forecast for the 2012/13 marketing year in its recent crop production report. According to NASS numbers, total U.S. Citrus production is forecast at 11.75 million tons in 2012/13, down 4 percent from the initial October forecast, but relatively unchanged from the final 2011/12 estimate of 11.74 million tons. The report indicates the revised totals reflect downward adjustments to Florida's production of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and tangelo's.

Total citrus production in Arizona, California and Texas are all anticipated above 2011/12 levels while Florida's overall crop is projected down 1 percent, reflecting declines in orange, grapefruit, tangerine, and tangelo production. Smaller and lower yielding Florida orange crop is anticipated to reduce domestic orange juice production this season. Texas total citrus is estimated at 271,000 tons, up 1 percent from 2011/12's final citrus estimate of 252,000 tons. Meanwhile, Arizona's citrus crop is forecast to double this year, with lemons rebounding from the 2011/12 freeze damaged crop.

Concerns over ACP continue out West

Three more Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) were found in California at separate groves within Tulare County in November and December. This is the insect capable of spreading the HLB bacteria or citrus greening disease, which was found earlier in the year in the Hacienda Heights suburb of Los Angeles. Quarantine of citrus movement has been evoked in Hacienda Heights and a 163-mile quarantine in Tulare, which is the top citrus producing county in California. It is unknown if any of the psyllids discovered in these areas carried the disease and there is no sign of infected trees, but as HLB has no known cure, it is considered a major threat which requires aggressive preventative action.

A much smaller quarantine area remains in effect in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. Aggressive inspections continue and monitoring of the entire citrus producing area. TDA officials report the quarantine in South Texas has had little effect in this year's fruit production numbers.

U.S. orange juice production forecast to decline

The USDA December report is forecasting U.S. orange juice production in 2012/13 at 94 9 million single-strength equivalent gallons, down 1 percent from last season. This decline is attributed to the forecast reduced crop in Florida and the projected 1 percent decline in juice yield to 1.61 gallons per box. Imports are forecast to increase slightly to 225 million gallons but growth will be limited by a decline in Brazilian orange juice production this year. Exports are projected to rise only slightly, up 2 percent, to 155 million gallons, as the slightly larger U.S. Orange juice supply is used to meet domestic demand and maintain stock levels.