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USDA projects big jump in Valencia production

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U.S. Valencia orange production will be 23 percent higher in 2023-24, at 20.85 million boxes, up from 16.91 million boxes in the previous season according to a crop forecast issued by USDA on October 12.

The gains are expected to be led by a 35 percent increase in Florida Valencia orange production, which is projected to be at 13 million boxes next year, from 9.65 million boxes in 2022-23.

Florida production of non-Valencia oranges is expected to be up by 22 percent, at 7.5 million boxes, from last season’s 6.7 million boxes.

This will result in a nationwide increase to 44.95 million boxes for non-Valencias, up from 43.2

million boxes for the 2022-23 season. California non-Valencia production will be more or less flat: 37 million boxes as opposed to 36.5 million boxes in the previous season.

Florida grapefruit production will be 5 percent higher: 1.9 million boxes, up from 1.81 million boxes in 2022-23. California’s grapefruit crop is expected to be down to 3.5 million boxes from last season’s 4 million boxes. Texas will see a slight drop, to 2.2 million boxes from 2.25 million boxes.

California navel orange production is expected to be up by 1 percent this season, at 74 million, according to a forecast issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on September 12.

The CDFA report said that fruit set was much higher in Fresno County (360 per tree, from 2022-23’s 245) at that time. Fruit set for Tulare and Kern county was down over the previous year.

The CDFA report also predicted a California Cara Cara production of 7 million cartons.

For tangerines and mandarins, the USDA forecast is 23.5 million boxes, down slightly from 24.18 million boxes last season. California accounts for practically all of the drop, as well for total national production.

Lemon production is pegged at 24.5 million boxes, down from 27.9 million boxes last season. The drop is largely due to lower California production: 23 million boxes as opposed to 26.5 million boxes in 2022-23.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.