Grapefruit production in 2004/05 is forecast to be 4 percent higher in Texas and 4 percent lower in California than last season. The smaller crop out of Florida is expected to benefit Texas and California producers through higher prices this season.
Lemon production for 2004/05 is forecast at 832,000 short tons, 4 percent above last season. Grower prices started the new season higher than average. As the season progresses, prices are expected to fall.
The first forecast for the 2004/05 citrus crop estimated citrus production to decline 23 percent from last season and 17 percent from two seasons ago. The large drop in Florida’s production this season drives overall production down.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts Florida’s orange production at 7.9 million short tons, 27 percent smaller than last season, the smallest since 1993/94. The reduced availability of oranges for processing is projected to reduce the quantity of orange juice produced this season by 24 percent.
Due to record-high beginning stocks, and an expected increase in imports, overall juice supply is expected to decline only 5 percent from last season, to 2.3 billion gallons, single-strength equivalent.
California’s navel orange harvesting got under way by mid-October. Rains temporarily slowed harvesting as labor could not get into the fields.
Growers received above-average prices for their fresh navels for the first month of the season. As the season progresses, however, average grower prices can be expected to be below last season due to the large crop and lower quality of the fruit.
Florida’s grapefruit production is forecast to be 63 percent lower than last season, driving down total U.S. grapefruit production by 51 percent. Due to the smaller crop, Florida packinghouse and processing prices for grapefruit have been running above last season, according to industry data.