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Smaller 2002/03 citrus crop may boost grower prices.

The 2002/03 citrus crop is projected to total 15 million short tons, 9% smaller than last season, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The orange, grapefruit, tangerine, and Temple crops are expected to be smaller, while lemon and tangelo crops should be bigger. As a result of the expected smaller crops, growers are likely to receive higher prices for their product.

Higher prices could, in turn, improve revenues for some of the citrus industries.

With the Florida crop typically accounting for at least three-quarters of all citrus produced in the U.S., any changes in its crop affects the overall industry. An expected 14% decline in Florida's citrus crop is driving overall decline for the 2002/03 season. As a result of the sharp projected decline in Florida's production, its share of the total U.S. citrus crop is likely to be 74%, down from 78% last season. A projected 11% increase in California's crop is offsetting some of the overall decline in the U.S. citrus crop.

Since Florida and California market their citrus differently, one state's crop has little effect on the other state's market. For example, most of California's oranges are sold in the fresh market while most of Florida's oranges go into making juice.

Because of the split markets, quality factors often have more effect on markets, with poor-quality California oranges increasing sales to processing and high quality Florida oranges increasing its sales to the fresh market. The impact of any change in market, however, is generally very small. Similarly, Florida grapefruit dominate the winter fresh market with California's product taking over from spring through early fall.
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Comment:Smaller 2002/03 citrus crop may boost grower prices.
Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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