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USDA: Florida citrus survived January freeze but will fall short of expectations

This season's $9 billion Florida orange crop largely survived the prolonged freeze at the start of January but will fall short of expectations by at least 6.5 percent, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That means the state will produce about 129 million boxes of citrus, down from previous estimates of 138 million, according to the report.

Grapefruits will likely be down from 19.5 million boxes to 18.8 million, and tangerines fell by 700,000 boxes to 4 million. Frozen concentrated orange juice will likely be down from 1.6 gallons to 1.56 gallons per 90-pound box.

Tangelo numbers didn't change from an initial estimate of 900,000 boxes, the report states.

The USDA makes its first crop estimate in October and revises it monthly until the end of the season in July.

"As a whole the industry came through in decent shape, we did have frozen fruit and leaf damage across most of the growing regions and this report reflects that," said Michael W. Sparks, Florida Citrus Mutual's executive vice president and chief executive officer. "Despite the reduction, I still expect another quality Florida citrus crop."

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USDA: Florida citrus survived January freeze but will fall short of expectations 02/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 1:52pm]

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