Bloomberg News

Florida Orange Crop May Rise 4.8% as Yields Gain, USDA Says

October 12, 2011

(Updates with Florida Citrus Mutual comment in third paragraph.)

Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Florida’s orange crop will be 4.8 percent larger than last season, exceeding estimates by analysts, as favorable weather aided crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The state, the world’s second-biggest orange grower, will produce 147 million boxes in the harvest that is just getting under way, up from a 140.3 million in the previous season, the USDA said today in its first estimate for the new crop. The average forecast of seven analysts and traders in a Bloomberg News survey was 144.5 million boxes. A box weighs 90 pounds, or 41 kilograms.

“We’ve had good rain over the summer and a large bloom in the spring, so this is pretty close to what we expected,” Michael W. Sparks, the chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual in Lakeland, Florida, said in a statement.

The group is the state’s largest organization of citrus growers. Brazil is the leading orange producer.

Orange juice for November delivery rose 1.2 percent to $1.634 a pound at 1:29 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Before today, the commodity tumbled 20 percent from a four-year high of $2.0265 on July 19.

Florida’s yields will average 1.6 gallons per box, up from 1.59 gallons a year earlier, the USDA said. The state’s harvest runs into July.

“The weather has been good for the crop,” Fain Shaffer, the president of Infinity Trading Corp. in Medford, Oregon, said in a telephone interview before the report. “They got plenty of rain, which helped the fruit size, and overall yields will be better.”

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Steve Stroth

To contact the reporter on this story: Marvin G. Perez in New York at mperez71@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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