Florida's Orange Crop Forecast 5% Bigger on Favorable Weather

The orange crop in Florida, the world’s second-biggest grower, will be 5 percent larger than last season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, as favorable weather aids crops.

The state will produce 154 million boxes in the harvest that’s just getting under way, up from a revised 146.6 million in the previous season and the biggest in four years, the USDA said today in its first estimate for the crop. The average forecast of seven analysts and traders in a Bloomberg News survey was 152.4 million boxes. A box weighs 90 pounds, or 41 kilograms.

“The trees look great,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures and Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in an e-mail before the report. Anything over 155 million boxes would need “perfect growing conditions, and that rarely happens,” he said.

Orange juice futures have tumbled 34 percent this year amid slowing demand in the U.S. and on expectations for a bigger crop in Florida. Yesterday, the November contract fell 0.6 percent to $1.113 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Florida’s yields will average 1.61 gallons per box, down from 1.63 gallons a year earlier, the USDA said.

The state’s harvest runs into July.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Laya in New York at playa2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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