The California Department of Food and Agriculture released the initial expectations for 2017-18 Navel orange production this week. The forecast is estimating 70 million cartons of production, based on the annual Navel Orange Objective Measurement Survey results. Over 97 percent of the total 70 million cartons forecasted are estimated to be in the Central Valley, which includes Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Kern counties.
The forecast was conducted from July 8 to September 1 and included conventional, organic and specialty varieties such as Cara Cara and Blood oranges. Information that was gathered as part of the survey was used to create statistical models to approximate production levels.
A total of 576 Navel orange groves were randomly selected to participate in the survey. Selections were made proportional to county and variety bearing acreage. Of the groves selected, 540 were used for data collection.
Information from the survey showed 115,000 bearing acres in the Central Valley, with an average of 135 trees per acre. The survey also indicated a fruit set of 273 per tree, down from 384 last season and below the five-year average of 348. The average September 1 diameter was 2.341 inches, an increase from last season’s 2.21 inches and above the five-year average of 2.24 inches.
The Navel Orange Objective Measurement Survey began in the 1984-85 crop year. Information from the first two years of the survey was used in the development of crop-estimating models.