Florida citrus growers are expected to harvest 14 percent less product this year compared to last year, but the Department of Agriculture says that is not because of Hurricane Matthew. USDA expects the 2016-2017 season harvest to total 70 million boxes, compared to last season’s 81.6 million boxes. The forecast is less than half the 170 million boxes harvested in 2008. USDA attributes the declines in production to citrus greening disease, which has infected more than 90 percent of the state’s groves. The total harvest estimate includes 34.0 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges, or early, mid-season, and Navel varieties, and 36.0 million boxes of Valencia oranges. The Navel orange forecast, at one million boxes, accounts for three percent of the non-Valencia total, according to USDA. Industry officials note citrus greening in Florida has forced a citrus production decline of 70 percent in the last 20 years.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.