If you look at a chart of the USDA’s citrus crop forecasts for Florida, you’ll notice a downward trend, and it’s all due to citrus greening. Since the HLB bacterium was detected in Florida citrus 10 years ago, the USDA’s forecasts have gotten smaller and smaller, and the annual number of boxes harvested have followed suit.
Production has fallen by 50 percent in the last decade, and the 2015-2016 citrus forecast fell even more in early December. On December 9th, the USDA lowered the forecast by 7 percent—5 million boxes—for a total estimate of 69 million boxes. The forecast for early-mid varieties fell 1 million boxes for a total of 36 million boxes and Valencias fell 4 million boxes for a total estimate of 33 million boxes.
While the continued decline of the USDA forecasts and citrus crop harvests are unsettling, there is a bright side. With increasing production costs, the continued decline will foster even more pressure on the industry and researchers to find a cure.
AgAmerica Lending stands by the nation’s citrus growers as they battle for their industry’s survival. We help all farmers and ranchers to grow and prosper with our low interest rates, long amortizations, and outstanding 10-year line of credit.