Fruit and Tree Nuts: Florida grapefruit crop forecast down 7 percent from 1990/91 – low consumer demand; fresh grapefruit prices decrease below last year; grapefruit exports similar to last year

Florida grapefruit crop forecast down 7 percent from 1990/91 – low consumer demand; fresh grapefruit prices decrease below last year; grapefruit exports similar to last year – U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service report

U.S. grapefruit production was projected at nearly 2.2 million short tons in the 1991/92 season (September through August), and 82 percent will likely be produced in Florida. The 1991/92 Florida grapefruit crop was forecast to be 7 percent less than the 1990/91 crop. Last year, Florida accounted for 85 percent of U.S grapefruit production, but only 77 percent in 1989/90 because of the December 1989 freeze.

In Florida, the grapefruit crop is smaller, fruit matured earlier, and the grapefruit season is ahead of last year, which means shippers will run out of fruit earlier. Preliminary utilization reports indicated that as of March 1, 1992, 23 percent of the crop remained to be harvested. On the same date last year, 42 percent of the grapefruit crop remained. The proportion


of fresh use was about the same as in the last five seasons, 55 percent.

Preliminary reports of Florida shipments (from the beginning of the season through March 1, 1992) indicate fresh grapefruit shipments were up 4 percent from the same time last year. Fresh domestic shipments accounted for 59 percent and exports for 41 percent of the 32,500 cartons shipped. Last season, exports accounted for 49 percent of fresh shipments, compared to 44 percent in 1989/90 and 58 percent in 1988/89. Nearly 30 percent of Florida white seedless grapefruit, preferred by Japanese importers, remained to be harvested. So the U.S. exports share of fresh shipments may increase late in the season.

Grapefruit Exports Expand

In the early part of this season, fresh grapefruit exports kept pace with last year but will drop off and may even fall behind last year as the Florida marketing season ends. For the first 4 months of the current season (September through December 1991), U.S. grapefruit exports were 2 percent ahead of the relatively large quantity exported during the same period in 1990.

U.S. grapefruit exports were up 55 percent in 1990/91 (September through August) fro the 1989/90 season. Fresh grapefruit exports were 511,400 short tons in 1990/91 and accounted for 23 percent of U.S. production, compared to 16 percent in 1989/90. For the first 6 months of the 1991/92 season, exports of Florida grapefruit accounted for 23 percent of the utilized crop. More than half of U.S. fresh grapefruit exports in 1990/91 went to Japan (52 percent), 26 percent went to Europe, and Canada accounted for 17 percent.

Fresh Grapefruit Price Down, but

Processing Price Gains

Despite the reduced crop, consumer demand has been weak, and fresh grapefruit prices have been below last season. U.S. grower prices (on-tree-equivalent returns) for fresh grapefruit were 5 percent lower in October 1991 than October 1990. The February 1992 price was 12 percent below a year earlier. Fresh grapefruit prices in Arizona, California, and Florida have been lower that last year every month this season except December.

In contrast, grower prices for Florida processing grapefruit have been higher that the past two seasons. The February 1992 price for processing grapefruit was up 74 percent from November 1991. Demand for processing grapefruit has been strong, as processors reported low carry-over stocks of frozen concentrate grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit Juice Inventory Down

According to Florida processors’ reports, nearly 80 percent of the grapefruit processed during the first 10 weeks of the season was used for frozen concentrate grapefruit juice (FCGJ), 3 percent of canned single-strength juice, and the remainder for chilled product. The amount of Florida FCGJ on hand at the end of the 10th processing week was 25 percent less than at the same time last season.

Carry-over of FCGJ, as of November 30, 1991, was 8 million 40-degree-Brix gallons, 35 percent less than the previous year. By February 15, 1992 (10th week of the season), the total pack was 11 million gallons, nearly the same as last season. However, movement was up 12 percent from the same time as last season. However, movement was up 12 percent from the same time last year, leaving product-on-hand at 15 million 40-degree-Brix gallons.


Table 18–Grapefruit used for frozen concentrate, Florida, 1984/


Used for Yield

Season Production frozen concentrate per box

Million boxes (1) Percent Gallons (2)

1984/85 44.0 23.0 52.3 1.08

1985/86 46.8 21.6 46.2 1.12

1986/87 49.8 24.1 48.4 1.20

1987/88 53.8 26.7 49.6 1.20

1988/89 54.8 26.6 48.5 1.21

1989/90 35.7 19.4 54.3 1.12

1990/91 45.1 17.4 38.6 1.24

1991/92 (3) 42.0 15.8 37.6 1.19

(1) Picking boxes weight approximately 85 pounds.

(2) Gallons per box at 40 degrees Brix equivalent.

(3) Forecast, January 1992.

Sources: National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, Florida Citrus Processors Association, and the Florida Department of Citrus.


COPYRIGHT 1992 For more information, contact US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Phone: 1-800-999-6779 (8:30-5:00 ET).

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