Final citrus crop report of season released, decline noted

Author: Associated Press

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture released bleak numbers on Florida’s citrus crop for the 2014-2015 season, reporting a decline in the orange harvest of more than 60 percent since the peak of production.

The report, which is the final one of the season, was released Friday. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the statistics are a “new low” for Florida citrus.

The USDA’s report of 96.7 million boxes of oranges is down from the 104 million boxes produced last year. A box weighs 90 pounds.

This represents a decline of more than 60 percent since the peak of citrus production during the 1997-98 season.

Much of the decline is due to the deadly citrus greening disease. Greening is spread by a gnat-sized insect called the Asian citrus psyllid.

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