LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) – The forecast for Florida’s citrus season is looking worse as the harvest continues.
The Ledger of Lakeland (http://bit.ly/1xX5Fcb) reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture dropped the state’s projected orange harvest by 5 million boxes to 103 million boxes, a 5 percent decline from its October estimate.
In addition to pre-harvest drop and small fruit size, Florida’s citrus-greening- infected trees are producing fewer pieces of fruit.
If those numbers hold, Florida growers will produce less than half the crops of all citrus varieties they produced before 2005, when scientists confirmed the bacterial disease citrus greening had arrived in the state.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday said he is asking the Legislature to double its support for greening-related research in the upcoming state budget when it meets in March.