MAITLAND, Fla. — All Oranges 47.0 Million Boxes. The 2021-2022 Florida all orange forecast released today by the USDA Agricultural Statistics Board is 47.0 million boxes, down 11 percent from last season’s final production. The total includes 19.0 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, mid-season, and Navel varieties) and 28.0 million boxes of Valencia oranges. The Navel orange forecast, at 450,000 boxes, accounts for 2 percent of the non-Valencia total.
The estimated number of bearing trees for all oranges is 49.4 million. Trees planted in 2018 and earlier are considered bearing for this season. Field work for the latest Commercial Citrus Inventory was completed in June 2021. Attrition rates were applied to the results to determine the number of bearing trees used to weigh and expand objective count data in the forecast model.
A 9-year regression was used for comparison purposes. All references to “average”, “minimum”, and “maximum” refer to the previous 10 seasons, excluding the 2017-2018 season, which was affected by Hurricane Irma. Average fruit per tree includes both regular bloom and the first late bloom.
Non-Valencia Oranges 19.0 Million Boxes
The non-Valencia forecast of 19.0 million boxes is 16 percent less than last season’s production. The estimated number of bearing trees (without Navels) is 18.2 million, down 3 percent from the previous season. The estimated fruit per tree for early and mid-season (non-Valencia) oranges is 571, a decrease of 20 pieces from last season, and the lowest in a series dating back to the 1964-1965 season. Projected fruit size is below average, requiring an estimated 313 pieces of fruit to fill a 90-pound box. At 27 percent, projected droppage is above average.
The Navel forecast of 450,000 boxes is 22 percent less than last season’s production. The estimated number of bearing trees is 864,000, down 4 percent from the previous season. The estimated fruit per tree is 150, a decrease of 35 pieces from last season. Projected fruit size is above average, requiring an estimated 138 pieces of fruit to fill a 90-pound box. Projected droppage is above average at 31 percent.
Valencia Oranges 28.0 Million Boxes
The Valencia forecast of 28.0 million boxes is 7 percent lower than last season’s production. The estimated number of bearing trees is 30.3 million, up 1 percent from the previous season. The estimated fruit per tree is 394, a decrease of 47 pieces from last season, and the lowest in a series dating back to the 1964-1965 season. Projected fruit size is below average, requiring an estimated 254 pieces of fruit to fill a 90-pound box. Projected droppage is above average at 30 percent.
To assist users in evaluating the reliability of the October 1 Florida production forecasts, the “Root Mean Square Error,” a statistical measure based on past performance, is computed. The deviation between the October 1 production forecast and the final estimate is expressed as a percentage of the final estimate. The average of squared percentage deviations for the latest 20-year period is computed. The square root of the average becomes statistically the “Root Mean Square Error.” Probability statements can be made concerning expected differences in the current forecast relative to the final end-of-season estimate, assuming that factors affecting this year’s forecast are not different from those influencing recent years.
The “Root Mean Square Error” for the October 1 Florida all orange production forecast is 10.8 percent. However, if you exclude the three abnormal production seasons (three hurricane seasons), the “Root Mean Square Error” is 6.6 percent. This means chances are 2 out of 3 that the current all orange production forecast will not be above or below the final estimates by more than 10.8 percent, or 6.6 percent excluding abnormal seasons. Chances are 9 out of 10 (90 percent confidence level) that the difference will not exceed 18.8 percent, or 11.6 percent excluding abnormal seasons.
Changes between the October 1 Florida all orange forecast and the final estimates during the past 20 years have averaged 8.76 million boxes (5.57 million, excluding abnormal seasons), ranging from 0.30 million boxes to 42.3 million boxes including abnormal seasons, (0.30 to 20.4 million boxes excluding abnormal seasons). The October 1 forecast for all oranges has been below the final estimate 3 times, above 16 times, (below 3 times, above 13 times, excluding abnormal seasons). The difference does not imply that the October 1 forecast this year is likely to understate or overstate final production.
Weather and Crop Progress
The citrus growing region experienced average temperatures and dry weather leading to the bloom period at the end of February. Following a few weeks of minimal rainfall, the citrus region declined into abnormally dry conditions. Growers and caretakers irrigated regularly to keep the trees as healthy as possible. By the beginning of April, the bloom period was over, and trees had set fruit for the new season. Rain in late April seemed suboptimal nourishment for the new crop being set. Other than in a few isolated areas, dryness set in for several more weeks. June and July welcomed much needed precipitation, bringing the entire citrus region to a drought free state. Despite a hurricane season with above-average levels of activity, the citrus growing area was spared any negative tropical impacts. Fruit set on oranges appeared to be less than most seasons. Fruit sizes in the early stages were consistent, yet small, with some late bloom reported. Maturity tests showed ratios were slightly lower on oranges, indicating a later start to the crop. Only harvest of early tangerines (Fallglo) has been reported so far this season.
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