There's so much gloom about the fate of citrus in Florida and California, but in spite of that talk, world citrus production is increasing.
Global orange production for 2018/19 is forecast to expand 4.2 million tons from the previous year to 51.8 million as favorable weather leads to larger crops in Brazil and the United States. Consequently, fruit for both fresh and processing uses is expected to be greater. Fresh exports are forecast 4 percent higher to 5.1 million tons.
Brazil's production is forecast to rise 13 percent to 17.8 million tons as favorable weather is expected to result in good bloom and fruit set. Fresh orange consumption and exports are flat while oranges for processing are up 2.0 million tons to 12.8 million.
China's production is projected down slightly to 7.2 million on unfavorable weather, resulting in a smaller crop in Jiangxi province. Along with only a small increase in imports, consumption is
lower on overall reduced supplies. South Africa and Egypt are the top two suppliers, accounting for 60 percent of imports.
U.S. production is forecast to recover, jumping 41 percent to 5.0 million tons due to favorable weather. Orange production in Florida has been declining for years due to citrus greening, which has decimated groves and increased costs for crop maintenance.
However, last year, the industry also suffered from damages caused by Hurricane Irma. This year's higher forecast shows a recovery to recent-year levels. Exports, consumption, and fruit for processing are all higher with the larger crop.
Read more about the world citrus industry and get individual country reports generated by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service
FAS Reports from Overseas Offices The Citrus: World Markets and Trade circular is based on reports from FAS Overseas Posts since December 2018 and on available secondary information. Individual country reports can be obtained on FAS Online at: http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Pages/Default.aspx .
One avocado tree, wholesale, recently sold for $92 in South Africa with 250 trees in a bunch costing about $23,000. They are ‘Maluma', of course, which means it is a new variety that has similar properties to the traditional ‘Hass', and might have some unusual properties like higher productivity, upright growth lending itself to higher planting density and fruit production inside the canopy protecting it from wind and sunburn (Fresh Fruit Portal, 2017).
At a traditional California tree spacing of 273 trees/ha, that would be $25,116 / ha. At some of the new high density spacings of 1 m x 1m, that is nearly a million dollars per hectare alone in trees, let alone the cost of the land and infrastructure. And that is just one hectare, not the multiples of hectares that growers are planting. There are growers investing in five, ten, twenty and more hectares per planting. Big investment.
One million dollars in trees. Nurseries are happy to hear this. If a grower in California or South Africa or Australia wants to plant a new orchard, they are told to get in line. And then, they need to wait for one or two years until the nursery can ramp up supply. I have gotten calls from China, Philippines, and Italy of all places for trees. Everyone wants to plant trees now, and this has been after a steady increase in world-wide planting that has gone on for the last 20 years. World-wide consumption has seen a steady increase over this time. World-wide, global marketing has assured a steady supply to local markets, regional markets and now all those consumers in far off places like North Dakota in the US, or other countries, such as Beijing and Moscow. French and German consumers have always been reliable importers of the fruit over the years. But now even traditional Italian foodies are eating the fruit.
What is driving this activity? Well, consumers, of course. They have caught the ‘avocado toast' bug. And the health benefits bug. It's all online and a lot of the claims are backed up by science (Scott et al, 2017). According to IndexBox (2017), a data compiling news service, the avocado market expanded at +5.6% per year from 2007 to 2016. Over the last six years, the market displayed a consistent growth; it accelerated sharply from Price of the fruit showed growth. Wholesale prices in 2016 totaled $13,797M, a growth by 23% over the previous year.
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Here's a pretty technical report of water efficiency in avocado - the amount of water it takes to make fruit. It looks like there might be some varieties that could produce more fruit with less water. It's a promising start to selecting a tree that could produce under the increasing drought conditions found in avocado growing areas.
Evaluation of leaf carbon isotopes and functional traits in avocado reveals water-use efficient cultivars
Plant water-use efficiency (WUE) describes the ratio of carbon gain to water loss during photosynthesis. It has been shown that WUE varies among crop genotypes, and crops with high WUE can increase agricultural production in the face of finite water supply. We used measures of leaf carbon isotopic composition to compare WUE among 24 cultivars of Persea americana Mill (avocado) to determine genotypic variability in WUE, identify potentially efficient cultivars, and to better understand how breeding for yield and fruit quality has affected WUE. To validate carbon isotope measurements, we also measured leaf photosynthetic gas exchange of water and carbon, and leaf and stem functional traits of cultivars with the highest and lowest carbon isotope composition to quantify actual WUE ranges during photosynthesis. Our results indicate large variation in WUE among cultivars and coordination among functional traits that structure trade-offs in water loss and carbon gain. Identifying cultivars of subtropical tree crops that are efficient in terms of water use is critical for maintaining a high level of food production under limited water supply. Plant functional traits, including carbon isotopes, appear to be an effective tool for identifying species or genotypes with particular carbon and water economies in managed ecosystems.
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The latest cost of production study done on oranges came out recently.
It applies to the San Joaquin parts of the Valley for sure, but many of the assumptions are true for evergreen tree crops in general. The cost of weed control, or fertilizing are not going to be different. Pest and disease control are going to be very different if you are a navel orange grower in Bakersfield or a cherimoya grower in Santa Barbara. The key to these studies are the different issues/categories a grower should be addressing and the studies provide a framework for that study. Also it gives general costs for different inputs, such as urea and glyphosate to make a comparison to what you might be paying
Gary Bender “was” a farm advisor in San Diego, who is still there but is now retired. He still knows his avocados and compiled his knowledge into a handbook that is online and available to all for immortality………….or as long as the internet survives. This concisely written text is full of practical information that even the most seasoned grower could probably learn from. And maybe those seasoned growers might have a lot to learn,
Find it at the UCCE San Diego website: