Orange growers in Florida, the largest U.S. producer, will harvest 54 million boxes in the 2017-18 marketing year, the least since 1947 - an era when citrus irrigation was rare - the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report. A survey of analysts conducted by Bloomberg indicated a crop of 58.2 million boxes. A box weighs 90 pounds, or 41 kilograms.
Irma, which dropped as much as 17 inches of rain on citrus-growing areas in a 24-hour period, made it impossible for farmers to reach their groves, with trees destroyed and fruit dropping to the ground unharvested, the USDA said.
Still, the USDA’s forecast was ahead of the 31 million boxes predicted by Florida Citrus Mutual, the state’s largest grower group, on Oct. 10. Orange juice for November delivery in New York fell as as much as 3.7 percent, before settling 2.3 percent lower at $1.589 a pound on ICE Futures U.S.
Florida growers group disputes USDA’s Florida orange crop estimate.
Prices are also under pressure because Brazil, the top supplier, has ample stocks, is harvesting more, and will compensate for lower supplies from Florida, Burak Kazaz, professor of supply chain management at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, said in a telephone interview.
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