(WASHINGTON) — It’s peak citrus season in the U.S., but Florida orange groves had a bitter yield of the beloved sweet and tart winter fruit.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that orange crops are projected to be down for the second consecutive season, which could send prices that were already high due to the pandemic, even higher.
The historically low production could be 16% less than last season’s final count, the USDA found.
Growers in the Sunshine State are forecast to harvest 44.5 million boxes of fruit from the 2020-21 season, according to the USDA, down1.50 million boxes from the December forecast.
The current USDA forecast looks at 17.5 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, mid-season, and Navel varieties) and 27 million boxes of Valencia oranges.
Only one year since 1947 has yielded fewer oranges, according to the USDA; 2017-2018 when Florida crops were battered by Hurricane Irma.
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