Numerous Florida citrus growers are experiencing heavy fruit drop this fall. “For some growers, it’s the worst fruit drop they have experienced; 50 percent-plus,” says grower Lee Jones with Cross Covered Caretaking.
Grower Jim Snively, with Southern Gardens Citrus, said he is hearing talk of around 30 to 50 percent-plus fruit drop. “I’m hearing pick-outs that are 20 percent to 70 percent below last year; the drop is the culprit in the areas with the greatest reduction,” says Snively.
According to Snively, the drop in South Florida started in late August and has been continuing. “In other areas of the state, Polk County and the west side of the state, it seems that the drop has just started and is not as intense.”
Jones reported seeing fruit drop across the state. “However, it appears that areas that had less rain and (groves that are) on a good root-health program are doing better,” he says.
“Hamlin and Midsweet are the varieties that are experiencing the drop at this time,” says Snively. “We are starting to see some early drop in Valencia.”
“Unfortunately, not only is the drop a concern, but the fruit quality is well below what we as an industry would like to see,” Snively, president of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, wrote in the recent association newsletter. “There are many areas that continue to have blocks that are not meeting the USDA minimum standards.”
“The minimum Brix requirement for …..
Read more about why Fruit Drop Weighs Heavily on Florida Growers on the Citrus Industry website.