- Author: Ben Faber
The USDA has released their Fruit and Nuts Outlook Report which shows the forecast the 2019/2020 seasons and provides an overview of the markets.
The 2019/20 citrus crop is forecast to be 7.63 million tons, down 4 percent from the previous season. Declines in overall production can mostly be attributed to smaller lemon, tangerine, and mandarin crops in California. Orange production in California has remained stable since last season. Citrus production in Florida has also remained stable with a 1 percent decline in orange production, and significant increases in grapefruit, tangerine, mandarin, and tangelo production over last year. Overall decreases in production of lemons, tangerines, mandarins, and tangelos are expected to result in increased imports, and higher prices compared with last year.
Fruit and tree nut grower prices began 2020 at low levels. At 117.8 (2011=100), the January 2020 index was down 10 percent from the January 2019 index and below the January average for 2016-18 (fig.1). The January 2020 index was the lowest since January 2013. Significantly lower grower prices for citrus fruit and apples drove down the index (table 1).
As of mid-March 2020, U.S. citrus exports were down except for orange juice and tangerines. Reduced exports have increased the domestic supply of citrus, putting downward pressure on prices. The January 2020 price of all- grapefruit is down 36 percent from the year before, and all-oranges and oranges for the fresh market are down by 6.9 and 9.4 percent respectively. All- lemon prices are down 28.5 percent, and fresh lemons prices are down by 8.6 percent.
Apple prices were down 21 percent in January 2020 from the year before. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimates the 2019 total apple crop to be up 3.6 percent from 2018. The strong dollar and increased tariffs in several countries have reduced exports, putting downward pressure on prices.