U.S. orange crop forecast up 1% from March

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its April Crop Production report forecast 2008-09 U.S. all orange production at 9,164,000 tons (212.6 million boxes) as of April 1, up 1% from its March forecast but 9% below last year.

The increase resulted from higher production forecast for California, Texas and Arizona more than offsetting a slightly reduced outturn in Florida.

California’s all orange crop was forecast at 1,988,000 tons (53 million 75-lb boxes), up 7% from the previous forecast but down 15% from 2007-08. California’s valencia orange production was forecast at 563,000 tons (15 million boxes), unchanged from March but down 6% from a year ago. Early, midseason and navel orange production in the state was forecast at 1,425,000 tons (38 million boxes), up 10% from March but down 16% from 2007-08.

Florida 2008-09 orange production was forecast at 7,092,000 tons (157.6 million 90-lb boxes), down slightly from the March forecast and down 7% from 2007-08. Florida’s early, midseason and navel production was forecast at 3,807,000 tons (84.6 million boxes), down 18,000 tons from March but up 1% from 3,757,000 tons last year. Valencia production was forecast at 3,285,000 tons (73 million boxes), unchanged from March but 16% below a year ago.

Florida’s frozen concentrated orange juice yield for 2008-09 was forecast at 1.64 gallons per box at 42 degrees Brix, unchanged from March but down 2% from 2007-08.

Most of California’s crop is utilized as fresh oranges while most of Florida’s crop is made into juice.

U.S. lemon production for 2008-09 was forecast at 817,000 tons (21.5 million 76-lb boxes), unchanged from March but up 16% from last year.

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