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March 9,2017-

Small Fruit Set, Fewer Trees Could Help Boost Price

USDA announced the March 2016-17 Valencia orange forecast this week at 15.6 million cartons, less than half the volume seen in 2010.Last year we saw 21 million cartons.

The agency says the season has had adequate and even excessive rainfall after several years of drought in many areas and measurements were indicating an average fruit size and lower fruit set. Survey data indicated an average fruit set per tree of 461, a 34 percent decrease from the previous year and well below the five-year average of 620.

The average March 1 diameter was 2.552 inches, slightly above the five-year average of 2.542.

Valencia acreage has declined in California from around 50,000 acres in 2006 to 30,000 acres today.

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