U.S.D.A. trims orange production 1% from October

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its December Crop Production report lowered its forecast of 2009-10 U.S. and Florida orange production by 1% from its initial forecast in October.

U.S. all orange production was forecast at 8.2 million tons (191,450,000 boxes) down 1% from October, down 11% from final utilization of 9.2 million tons (212,609,000 boxes) in 2008-09 and down 19% from 10.1 million tons (234,376,000 boxes) in 2007-08.

Florida all orange outturn was forecast at 6.1 million tons (135,000,000 boxes), also down 1% from October but down 17% from 7.3 million tons (162,400,000 boxes) last year and down 21% from 7.7 million tons (170,200,000 boxes) two years ago.

“Weather conditions in Florida’s citrus growing regions during early 2009 were characterized by a series of cold fronts, freezing temperatures and below average rainfall,” the U.S.D.A. said. But weather later in the season was beneficial to citrus crop progress, the U.S.D.A. said.

California and Texas orange production forecasts were unchanged from October.

The U.S.D.A. does not update corn or soybean production forecasts in its December Crop Production report.

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