Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Agricultural Commodities: Florida’s Orange Crop Survives Night - Will It Survive the Week?

Agricultural Commodities: Florida Orange Crop

Concerns over the survival of the second-largest orange-producing area in the world eased somewhat overnight, as less than 1 percent of oranges in Florida suffered damage as a consequence of lower temperatures.

Even so, more cold weather is forecast for the next several days, renewing fears the industry could suffer huge losses in 2010, as the cold weather lingers on.

Concerns are within the next week temperatures could stay below 28 degrees for long periods of time, which would permanently damage the Florida oranges. If temperatures remain below that level for over a several hour period, that won't survive.

The latest estimates are up to five percent of the orange crop in Florida could be lost, although the potential for more is very real.

What has driven fear into Florida orange growers is the forecast for January 10th and 11th, which could cause some serious damage to the industry if it plays out as predicted.

Some of the steps taken by orange growers in the state are to harvest at an accelerated pace or to increase irrigation which reduces the amount of damage.

Orange growers in the area say they've never seen anything like it before, where the temperatures consistently stay in the 20s. A number of growers say if things don't change the entire crop in Florida could be at risk in the next several days.

Just last month news that the orange production was down 17 percent from last year because of disease and drought brought prices up, now orange prices have reached a two-year for orange-juice futures over the uncertainty the new risks pose.

Last year approximately 162.4 million boxes of oranges were packed by Florida orange growers through July, while estimates are only 135 million boxes were filled through July of 2009. Those numbers could plunge if things get any worse.

Agricultural Commodities: Florida Orange Crop

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