Irma Sends Florida's Orange Crop to at 76-Year Low

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Florida's largest citrus grower organization says the latest USDA crop estimate issued October 12 is too high and doesn't correctly reflect the damage Hurricane Irma inflicted on citrus growers.

The first word on Florida's 2017-2018 citrus crop is decidedly negative.

In a written statement, Florida Citrus Mutual says the USDA report doesn't accurately account for the full extent of damage from Hurricane Irma.

Following Irma, Putnam stated that Florida citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages, and this week he was in Washington D.C. discussing the effects of Irma and make a case for federal assistance.

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Irma, which dropped as much as 17 inches of rain on citrus- growing areas in a 24-hour period, made it impossible for farmers to reach their groves, with trees destroyed and fruit dropping to the ground unharvested, the USDA said. "It's important to recognize that the damage to Florida citrus is still unfolding, and will continue to for some time". "There is no group of people more stubborn or more resilient than Florida's growers, and we will get through this together", said Putnam.

In a widely followed report, the USDA said output in Florida will plunge 21 percent to 54 million boxes in the season that began October 1, a 71-year low. The Florida Valencia orange forecast, at 31.0 million boxes (1.40 million tons), is down 13 percent from last season's final utilization. The record low was 4 million boxes in 1918.

AgNet Media has carried the citrus forecast live from USDA for many years.

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