ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — This year’s Florida orange crop is approaching the fruit’s lowest harvest in 24 years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday released its citrus production forecast.
The 2013-2014 orange forecast is 110.0 million boxes, down 4 percent from last month, and 18 percent less than last season’s final production figure.
Orange harvesting ends in June, and if the crop doesn’t decline further, it will barely exceed the 110.2 million orange boxes harvested in 1989-90 following the worst freeze in Florida citrus history.
Citrus is big business in Florida. Citrus growers gave Florida 66 percent of the total U.S. market share. About 95 percent of the state’s orange crop is used for juice.