California NASS releases citrus, cotton forecasts The California field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service released its citrus and cotton crop forecast as of Jan. 1.

Oranges

The 2008-2009 California Navel orange forecast is 69 million cartons, up 8 percent from the October forecast and down 29 percent from the 07/08 crop. The harvest is running behind schedule due to fog, rain, and cold temperatures. The lack of good Navel coloring is an issue. Fruit quality is generally good.

The 2008-2009 Valencia orange forecast is 24 million cartons, unchanged from October, but down 25 percent from last season’s crop.

Lemons

The 2008-2009 California lemon forecast is 38 million cartons, 12 percent above last season’s final production and unchanged from October. With higher production this season, supplies of California lemons have been about normal. Fruit quality has been good though some fruit drop has occurred in the desert.

Tangerines

The 2008-2009 California tangerine forecast (mandarins and tangelos) is 14 million cartons. Production is 23 percent above last season’s crop and 11 percent higher than the October forecast.

Satsuma, Clementine and Fairchild harvests are underway as new season picking continues. Fruit quality is excellent. Picking has slowed at times due to cold, wet weather. W. Murcott, Dancy, Minneola and Royal Mandarin harvests should begin soon.

Grapefruit

The 2008-2009 California grapefruit forecast is 9 million cartons, 18 percent below the October forecast and down 21 percent from last season’s crop. Chandler variety pummelos, and Melo Gold and Cocktail grapefruit were harvested in the Central Valley. Sizes are reported to be smaller than normal.

Cotton

American Pima production in California is estimated at 415,000 bales, up 4 percent from the Dec. 1 forecast. Harvested acreage is estimated at 151,000 acres. The yield is 1,319 pounds per acre.

Upland production is estimated at 370,000 bales, unchanged from the Dec. 1 forecast. Harvested acreage is estimated at 117,000 acres. The yield is 1,518 pounds per acre.

Cotton plowdown is complete in compliance with cotton pink bollworm control regulations. Some gins are still ginning the 2008 crop.