2023-24 orange harvest from the citrus belt is reestimated at 307,22 million boxes

Below-average rainfall, accelerated harvesting and increased greening impact fruit growth and fall

11.12.2023 | 14:34 (UTC -3)
Rebeca Come Terra

The second re-estimate of the 2023/24 orange harvest for the São Paulo and Triângulo/Southwest Mineiro citrus belt, released today (11/12) by Fundecitrus, is 307,22 million boxes of 40,8 kg – a reduction of 2,12 .XNUMX million boxes compared to the initial projection released in May.

This reduction is mainly due to the reduction in the size of the fruits of the Pêra Rio, Valencia, Valencia Folha Murcha and Natal varieties. These varieties are not reaching their projected sizes because of the volume of rainfall below the historical average that has persisted since the beginning of harvests in most of the citrus belt, explains the coordinator of the Harvest Estimation Research (PES) at Fundecitrus, Vinícius Trombin.

“Oranges of the early varieties, which have already been harvested practically in their entirety, benefited from the abundant rains at the beginning of the year, which caused an increase of 2,27 million boxes, included in the September re-estimate. However, the productions of the varieties that are now being updated were impacted by rainfall below the historical average since May, leading to a reduction of 4,39 million boxes in the estimated production of these varieties. As a result, the total variation is 2,12 million boxes”, adds Trombin.

Another important factor is the faster pace at which the harvest is progressing, resulting in a shorter period for fruit development and a significant amount of oranges harvested before the rainiest season of the year, a time when greater fruit filling occurs. .

Furthermore, the increase in greening intensity also affected the growth of oranges, as a variation in fruit size was observed in regions with different levels of disease severity. This reduction in the harvest is not even more significant because the rate of premature fruit drop of these varieties, with the exception of Natal, is lower than projected, partially compensating for the reduction in the size of the oranges. 

Fruit drop and average weight

The fruit drop rate projection is revised from 21% to 19%, on average, considering all varieties. In the current re-estimate, 255 fruits are needed to form a 40,8kg box, eight more fruits compared to the May scenario, given that oranges, in general, are smaller than expected. Thus, the fruits should end the harvest weighing 160 grams, contrasting with the initially projected average weight of 165 grams. If this is confirmed, the oranges will weigh less than the average for the last 10 years, which is 163 grams. 

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