Tangerine and mandarin production is forecast to reach 626,000 tons for the 2010/11 season, 5 percent more than last season, and 41 percent greater than 2 seasons ago. California’s production is forecast to increase 8 percent to 400,000 tons, while Florida’s is expected to rise 1 percent to 214,000 tons.
Arizona’s crop is expected to decline slightly to 12,000 tons. For the 2010/11 season, NASS’ California field office reports that there are 33,000 acres of tangerine/mandarin trees bearing commercial crops in 2010/11, up 3,000 acres from last season. NASS’ Florida field office reports there has been a decrease in the number of bearing trees for all of Florida’s major tangerine varieties (Fallglo, Sunburst, and Honey) — down about 2,000 acres to 20,430 acres, but the estimated fruit set per tree increased for all varieties except the Honey tangerine. Fruit size is smaller than last year for Fallglo and Sunburst Tangerines. Florida’s tangelo production (which is counted separately in Florida but included with the tangerine/mandarin forecast in California) is forecast up 22 percent this year to 50,000 tons.
As of the end of October, the first month of Florida’s tangerine season, the Florida Department of Citrus reported that shipments were up 1 percent over the same time last season, with a similar increase in revenues — indicating stable prices. More recent AMS shipment data show Florida tangerine shipments down about 4 percent compared to last year, season-to-date through mid-November, with about 17 percent of early tangerines having been harvested. F.O.B prices for Florida Sunburst and Fallglo varieties are averaging just slightly higher than last season according to the Florida Citrus Mutual, at $18.76 and $13.70 per 4/5 bushel box, respectively. But based on expectations of lower total on-tree revenues for Florida tangerines this year, grower prices are expected to decline somewhat in the coming months (Florida Citrus Outlook 2010-11, Oct. 20, 2010).
In California, fresh tangerine/mandarin prices are likely to remain strong as its industry continues to grow and its markets continue to expand. Consumers have shown strong preferences for mandarin varieties due to their lack of seeds and ease of peeling and eating. These easy peel varieties have been popular on the East Coast and Midwestern States for awhile now, almost all imported, and their popularity has remained quite strong.