But the picture for Valencias was not altogether grim, said Kevin Severns, general manager of the Orange Cove-Sanger Citrus Association based in Orange Cove.

Severns said growers of Valencias who can’t command a $9.50 to $10 per carton price may be better selling to the not-from-concentrate juice market in a $120 to $150 per ton range. “That helps to put a floor under the price.”

The fact that the navel harvest lasted so long cut into market space for Valencias, Severns said. “Offshore navels from South Africa and Australia are also taking up space,” he added, along with some tree fruit.

He was quick to point out that despite citrus greening setbacks to Florida and several foreign countries, California remains a small player on the juice market.

By late August, the Valencia harvest was between 60 percent and 70 percent finished. Harvesting of Valencias this year could go into October. In many years it’s done by early September.

The production of Valencias has declined in recent years, but could be stabilizing.

“Some people may be standing back and saying it has reached a point of equilibrium,” Severns said. “It is an alternate bearing fruit, and in down years, tends to do well. In heavy years, that’s not so.”

Last year, the crop was lighter.

Valencias lost some of their appeal in part because they’re seeded. But Severns said the Asian markets like them.

Acreage for mandarin oranges has nearly overtaken Valencia oranges. Overall citrus acreage remains constant. The top three commodities are navels, mandarins and lemons. That’s followed by Valencias, grapefruit, blood oranges and other specialties.

The industry continues to keep its guard up against Huanglongbing, the disease that causes citrus greening. It’s carried by a small winged insect called the citrus psyllid that is no bigger than an aphid.

Hill, who chairs California Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee, said pesticide treatments against the psyllid appear to be working well “at knocking populations back” in Southern California.

He spoke in Exeter at a meeting on citrus in late August. “We’re not ready for a sigh [of relief]. But it appears that if we get out there and are diligent we can suppress populations of the [Asian citrus psyllid].”