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Citrus forecast up in California

The forecast for the 2004/05 citrus crop estimated citrus production to decline 23 percent from last season and 17 percent from two seasons ago. The large drop in Florida's production this season drives overall production down.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts Florida's orange production at 7.9 million short tons, 27 percent smaller than last season, the smallest since 1993/94.

California's navel orange harvesting got under way by mid-October. Rains temporarily slowed harvesting as labor could not get into the fields. Growers received above-average prices for their fresh navels for the first month of the season. As the season progresses, however, average grower prices can be expected to be below last season due to the large crop and lower quality of the fruit.

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