The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its latest citrus projections for the season, with orange production up for the first time in the past three years. The state will produce an estimated 108 million boxes of oranges, which is a three percent increase from last year’s 104.6 million boxes.
Although the overall orange yield is up, it’s not because there are more trees. In fact, there’s two percent fewer than last season. Some of that may have to do with a disease called citrus greening, which results in discolored and misshapen fruit. Most infected trees die within a few years.
Bob Roth owns Bob Roth’s New River Grove in Davie. Among other things, the company distributes Florida citrus throughout the country. He’s seen citrus growers struggle over the past few years.
“Now we’re in another year with citrus greening and other things other challenges,” says Roth, "but I was up there today, checking out... one of the groves that supplies us and it’s the best citrus I’ve seen in years.”
While things may be doing a bit better for the orange crops this year, grapefruit and tangerine production are projected to go down.
The USDA will revise its estimate throughout the season, which will wrap up around July.