Drought and Heat Harm Brazil’s Harvest

Dan Citrus, Exports/Imports

Lack of rain withered this commercial citrus orchard in Jales (north São Paulo state). The photo was taken in October 2020.

There is a saying among those who have been in the industry for a long time: “There is no citrus harvest like the other.” Growers are facing production challenges in the current harvest season in Brazil.

Hot, Dry Conditions

The first signs of a decrease in the season’s fruit crop were given by last year’s (August to September 2019) bloom. This was a period with limited rainfall and high temperatures that caused fruitlet drop. Fruits grew up to 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter but were then overturned by excessive heat. In some regions, trees bloomed again in December 2019, which was not enough to compensate for previous losses. 

The period from May to October 2020 without rainfall was one of the most extensive droughts ever recorded in the Brazilian citrus belt. In addition to the extended drought, heat waves caused considerable weight and fruit-quality impairment.


Overall fruit losses were greatest in the northern part of São Paulo state and in Triângulo Mineiro (an area in the west of Minas Gerais state) — the driest and hottest regions of the citrus belt.

The first crop forecast released by Fundecitrus in September 2020 was for production of 287.8 million boxes of oranges, 25 percent lower than in the previous crop season (2019–2020). This forecast was revised in December to 269 million boxes of oranges, indicating another 6.4 percent loss.

The hot, dry climate caused extremely withered orchards. With irrigation only available in approximately 27 percent of the citrus belt, many growers could not fully irrigate trees.

Because of uneven flowering from …..

Read more about how Drought and Heat Harm Brazil’s Harvest on the
Citrus Industry website.