LAKELAND, Fla. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its February orange crop forecast for the 2010-2011 season, reducing its earlier estimate by another 2 million boxes. The department is now expecting a harvest of 138 million boxes.
"We continue to see the effects of the freeze events that hit Florida citrus in December as well as smaller fruit sizes," Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual. "The reports I'm hearing from the field is that growers are still producing a high quality crop that will translate into great tasting fresh citrus and juices."
The USDA estimates for grapefruit and tangelo remained unchanged at 19.6 million boxes and 1 million boxes, respectively. The tangerine forecast was increased by 200,000 boxes to 4.4 million total boxes.