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Florida orange production forecast adjusted downward

The forecast of all oranges for Florida is adjusted downward slightly in the latest report released by the USDA Agricultural Statistics Board.

The early, mid-season Navel portion is adjusted from 65.7 to 65.6 million boxes.

The Valencia portion remains at 65 million. If realized, the all orange utilization will be 17.1 million boxes, or 12 percent, less than the 147.7 million in the hurricane reduced 2005-06 season.

This forecast is 113.4 million boxes less than the record 244 million used in the 1997-98 season.

In the most recent 10 non-hurricane seasons, the May forecast has differed from final production by 1.2 percent, with four seasons above and six below. With the exception of two small storm fronts in the second week of April, rainfall has been sparse. Lakes and canals are at very low levels.

Growers are irrigating frequently to promote tree vigor and fruit set.

The forecast of early, mid-season Navel oranges (including Temples) is adjusted downward by 100,000 boxes to 65.6 million. Harvest is over. This estimate of final utilization includes an allocation of about one million boxes for other use.

The Navel portion of this estimate is 2.85 million boxes.

The Valencia forecast remains at 65 million boxes. The monthly size and drop survey indicates a slight growth in fruit size with droppage increasing to near 20 percent on the remaining crop.

The monthly Row Count Survey conducted May 2-3 indicates almost 60 percent of the Valencia rows harvested. When combined with estimated utilization to the same time, the indicator fully supports the forecast.

Estimated utilization to the first of May is 37.9 million boxes with several weekly amounts during April over five million boxes.

To date, harvesters report sufficient labor to deliver fruit on a timely basis.

The projection of all orange FCOJ yield remains at 1.65 gallons per box, a record. The previous record was set in the 1998-99 season at 1.63 gallons.

Last season also recorded a yield of a rounded 1.63 gallons.

The early-mid portion is final at 1.555467 gallons as reported by the Florida Department of Citrus. The record yield for the early-mid portion was 1.58 gallons in 1998-99.

The late (Valencia) portion projection is unchanged at a record high 1.78 gallons per box.

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