USDA predicts lowest citrus crop in years - FOX 13 News

USDA predicts lowest citrus crop in years

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LAKELAND (AP) -

As many Florida citrus growers have feared, the smallest orange crop in 24 years will get smaller as pre-harvest fruit drop continues to plague groves.

The Lakeland Ledger reports (http://bit.ly/1kwKDqf) that the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday shaved four million orange boxes - or three percent - off the projected 2013-14 orange harvest.

This was the first monthly update since its initial Nov. 8 forecast. The new estimate is 121 million boxes.

The report cites historically low fruit size and record high pre-harvest drop - both of which attributed to the millions of trees infected by the deadly citrus greening bacterial disease - as the reasons for the reduction.

The new estimate is still above the previous low orange crop of 110.2 million boxes harvested in the 1989-90 season.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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