|IN THIS ISSUE:
The Texas Produce Convention & Expo 2000 annual event is scheduled at South Padre Island Convention Center on September 6 through 8. The first day is for exhibits setup, a golf tournament and a couple of membership and board meetings. The general program is on Thursday and Friday mornings, with breakout sessions on watermelons, citrus, vegetables and import/export also on Friday.
The topics and speakers should be of interest to practically everyone, so I hope to see you there.
STEGER'S FLORIDA ORANGE FORECAST-
Ms. Elizabeth Steger released her estimate of the coming orange crop in Florida-some 247.5 million boxes, which will be a new record, if realized. Generally, Ms. Steger's forecast has been especially accurate, coming two months before the USDA forecast. Her forecast was well low last season, but even the official forecasts were low.
Some industry observers indicate little surprise with her estimate, as most think that the current crop will be in the range of the record harvest of 1998, which was 244 million boxes. Too bad she doesn't do a grapefruit forecast.
Based on the existing supply of FCOJ, reduced movement from Brazil and the expected high production in Florida, November FCOJ futures are expected to be down in the area of 70-75 cents per pound solids. In essence, there is too much supply, and movement is down in spite of substantially lower prices.
The sudden development of Tropical Storm Beryl in mid-August a couple of hundred miles south-southeast of Brownsville created initial concern which gave way to cautious optimism for significant rains without the winds. Alas, even the rain failed to materialize-either in the Valley or in the watersheds, as the storm entered Mexico and tracked too far south.
While there have been scattered rains across the Valley, including accumulations of barely half-an-inch to several inches, there remains a great need for rainfall overall. Clouds build daily, increasing humidity, so it should be just a matter of time. After all, veteran hunters expect rains as whitewing dove season opens this weekend and September is usually our wettest month.
FLORIDA CITRUS INVENTORY 2000-
Total citrus acreage in Florida declined about 13,000 to 832,275 acres as of January 1, 2000, with a total tree count of about 106.7 million. Orange acreage increased by 7139 to 665,529 acres, while grapefruit dropped by 14,672 to 118,145 acres and specialty fruit lost 5452 to 48,601 acres.
Most of the orange acreage increase is due to an additional 11,300 acres of Valencias, as navels dropped about 2,000 acres and Ambersweet dropped over 5200 acres. Colored grapefruit acreage is 70,437, white seedless is 44,485 acres and seedy grapefruit acreage is 2385.
All districts lost both grapefruit and specialty fruit acreage. Orange acreage declined in both the Indian River and northern areas, while it increased in central, western and southern areas.
Of the 32 citrus-producing counties in Florida, the top three (Polk, Hendry and St. Lucie) account for 36 percent of the total acreage. If one compares Texas acreage, Hidalgo County would rank tenth, while Cameron County would rank twentieth among the Florida counties.
If you want to explore the Florida data for changes, varieties, bearing acreage et cetera, go to http://www.nass.usda.gov/flcitrus/ccipr00.
CITRUS PEST UPDATE-
August has been relatively dry for the most part except for some isolated showers which has allowed rust mite populations to be brought under control with the help of foliar sprays. However, this season has been rather expensive and unusual with many groves having 2 to 3 spray applications for rust mite control as well as their spring Temik® application. Therefore, if your rust mite control costs are higher than normal you're in the same situation most other producers are facing this season. As the fall rains begin to occur, be on the lookout for rebounding rust mite populations since we probably have not seen the last of them for this season.
Armored scale pests continue to spread and can be difficult to control. In general, these armored scale pests are kept under control by beneficial parasitoids. Pesticide-induced outbreaks have been known to occur following the use of various products. Currently, chemical control using Esteem®, Lorsban® or Supracide® can provide some relief but each can impact certain beneficials. Oil sprays are least injurious of all scalicides to scale parasitoid populations, but oil should not be used after September 15 because late use delays maturity and coloring. Too, oil can cause phytotoxicity if the relative humidity is below 30 percent. Therefore, if spherical yellow crawlers (immature stage) are still encountered, repeat applications of these chemicals in a rotational manner will be required just to lessen any scale problem for the time being.
JULIAN W. SAULS, Ph.D.
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