USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) forecasts 2010/11 U.S. citrus production at 11.9 million tons, up 9 percent from last season and virtually the same as 2 seasons ago. Production of all citrus crops is forecast higher than last year, except for grapefruit.

NASS forecast California’s orange crop at 2.4 million tons, up 14 percent from last season and nearly 39 percent above 2008/09. Both the navel and Valencia orange crops are forecast higher this season, with navels accounting for 77 percent of production. Despite reports of good quality, the larger expected crop and potentially smaller fruit size this season may place downward pressure on grower prices for fresh oranges this season.

Florida’s orange production, 95 percent of which is used to make juice, is forecast at 6.6 million tons, a 9-percent increase from last season but 10 percent lower than 2008/09.

Adequate beginning stocks of orange juice and higher production of oranges available for processing will keep the orange juice market well supplied this year, while domestic consumption is likely to continue to wane, consistent with the long term trend. The combination of adequate stocks, weaker domestic consumption, and increased availability of oranges for processing is expected to limit any price gains compared to last season.

NASS forecast the U.S. 2010/11 grapefruit crop at 1.2 million tons, down less than 1 percent from last season but the fourth consecutive season of declining production, and the second lowest level dating back to 1980. Florida’s crop accounts for 70 percent of the total, with Texas and California producing the remainder. Florida shipments began slowly this season. Prices are likely to remain similar to last year based on reports of good quality and the potential for strong exports to Japan—the leading market for Florida’s fresh grapefruit.

NASS forecast the 2010/11 U.S. lemon crop at 948,000 tons, 10 percent higher than the 2009/10 crop. Tangerine and mandarin production is forecast 5 percent more than last season. In California, fresh tangerine/mandarin prices are likely to remain strong as its industry continues to grow and its markets continue to expand.