Florida citrus producers have endured a number of tumultuous years since the calamitous introduction of the Asian citrus psyllid in 1998. This pest insect transmits a harmful bacterium that causes citrus greening, a disease that decimates citrus orchards and has no known cure. Citrus greening management strains farmer production costs, which is further exacerbated in the face of declining orange demand. On top of this, the 2018 orange crop suffered huge losses when Hurricane Irma hit last September, returning a dismal 44.95 million boxes, the lowest figure since 1945.
Sunshine state growers’ luck seems to be turning around, however. Favorable weather and improved citrus greening management practices have contributed to a promising yield forecast for the 2019 orange crop. The USDA has set current production estimates at 70 million boxes, or approximately 6.3 billion pounds of oranges. However, hurricane season is far from over, and farmers will continue to keep their fingers crossed for fair weather through the end of September. Gro Intelligence allows subscribers to closely monitor all developments in the slowly rebounding US orange and citrus industries.