U.S.D.A. trims orange production 3% from January

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its February Crop Production report lowered its forecast of 2009-10 U.S. all orange production by 3% and Florida orange production by 4% from its January forecast.

U.S. all orange production was forecast at 7,936,000 tons (185,587,000 boxes), down 3% from January and down 14% from final utilization of 9,198,000 tons (212,609,000 boxes) in 2008-09.

Florida all orange outturn was forecast at 5,805,000 tons (129,000,000 boxes), down 4% from the previous forecast and down 21% from 7,308,000 tons (162,400,000 boxes) a year ago.

“Eight days of sub-freezing temperatures were recorded during the period of Jan. 5-13, 2010,” the U.S.D.A. said. “A freeze damage survey was conducted Jan. 26-27, 2010. Additional assessments will be made through mid-March.” While there were “varying degrees of damage,” the U.S.D.A. said grove caretakers irrigated heavily and accelerated harvest to protect fruit and limit crop losses.

The Florida frozen concentrated orange juice yield was forecast at 1.56 gallons per box at 42 degrees Brix, down 3% from January and down 6% from 1.66 gallons in 2008-09, the U.S.D.A. said.

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