Florida's Farmers Produce Smallest Orange Harvest Since WWII After Irma Wiped Out Half Of Crops

Tyler Durden's picture

Hurricane Irma wiped out nearly 50% of Florida’s iconic orange crop when it buffeted the state with 160 mph winds and a massive storm surge last month, sending orange concentrate futures rocketing higher and stoking speculation that the state’s embattled orange growers – already struggling to fend off a worsening “greening” epidemic that’s constrained production over the past decade – might never recover.

And in a development that confirmed traders fears that this year’s crop could be the smallest in decades, which in turn increases the likelihood that prices will remain elevated for the time being (no doubt conferring some small boost to headline CPI), Bloomberg is reporting that the state’s 2017 orange crop was its smallest since 1942, with 31 million boxes harvested.

Oranges are also grown in California, but the drop in Florida orange stocks was largely responsible for the smallest national yield since 1964. In the season that ended Sept. 30, orange output was 68.7 million boxes, according to US Department of Agriculture data. The record low was 4 million boxes in 1918. The data go back to 1913.

While it ultimately bypassed the state, Hurricane Katia terrified farmers and traders when it briefly appeared set to deliver the second devastating blow to the industry in two weeks.

When it tore through the state in September, Irma caused an estimated $2.5 billion in damage to the state’s agriculture, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said on Oct. 4. Preliminary estimates showed $760.8 million in damage to the citrus industry.

But more importantly, if CPI climbs in the coming months, will Janet Yellen (or maybe her successor) credit the oranges, like she once blamed falling prices for cellphone data plans for a "transitory" decline?

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hedgeless_horseman's picture


Buy, Mortimer, buy!!!

cheech_wizard's picture

Beat me to it by this much  -->  <---

hedgeless_horseman's picture


In related news, OJ Futures looking up...

bamawatson's picture

"smallest orange" crop --- brings to mind a story. sitting in a bar. guy dressed as sailor walks in. looks completely normal; except his head is the size of a small orange. bought him a drink n said hey man i have to ask. he says, well, i was shipwrecked alone on an island for weeks. then a mermaid appears. she says, i am a magic mermaid, i can grant you one wish. sailor says gimme some pussy. she says mermaids don't have pussy. sailor says, all right, give me a little head

JimmyJones's picture

Oh man, just can't stop thinking about Trading Places.

moonstears's picture

Know a Sailor or two, never heard the joke. Consider it stolen!

RagaMuffin's picture

Less OJ merely requires more Vodka   ;-)

covfefe MICdotard's picture

I thot he just got out on parole?

D503's picture

Goes great with powdered alcohol

moonstears's picture

Long Smirnoff? Puts on OJ? Like it!

wisehiney's picture

Divert puerto rico funds to FL orange growers.

Juggernaut x2's picture

Puerto Ricans/FL orange industry= both groups are subsidized welfare queens

Squid Viscous's picture

guess i have to switch to even cheaper vodka for my screwdrivers?

maybe straight to grain alcohol

covfefe MICdotard's picture

all hard booze is grain alcohol until they start throwing wood, berries, water & other shit into it.


I know I'm gonna get beat up here a little by the word 'grain' universal usage.


They'll say 'huh wha'? corn, potatoes, sugar are grains? 




Better yet ~ go talk to 'The Colonel' in Tennessee if you want to get started with your very own (long waiting list though)


or, talk to 'The Cooler King' (who mysteriously disappeared a few weeks ago)



FORD_FIESTA's picture

Powder TANG and EVERCLEAR, the best thing ever to take Camping.......

Sy Kloine Bee's picture

Israeli citrus will pick up the slack.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Print up some oranges Mr. Yellen!!!

"Full Faith and Credit"

covfefe MICdotard's picture

For the <3 of God son!!! (where does it all end)               Don't fruit the beer!






venturen's picture
seems it has been dropping for a decade....and 99% of the state didn't see winds above 40mph
krispkritter's picture

I think the Greening did more damage than anything.  Groves are being ripped out everywhere here.  

Froman's picture

It has been dropping longer than that...Back in the late 1960s and 1970s my grandfather had a cirtus plant in Apopka, Florida that produced FCOJ.  When I was younger there were orange groves all over the place in Eustis, Apopka, Tavares.  Just like the tomato farmers west of the turnpike in Boca Raton, or the watermellon farmers west of Naples, all of the orange farmers sold off their land to developers years ago and now where the groves used to be there Pulte and Hovnavian crappy homes and retirement developments like Century Village on the land. 

Drop-Hammer's picture

True dat homey.  I remember when my family moved to Florida in the early 70's.  Orange groves everywhere.  I left to go into the Army in '81 and came back to Florida years later (and now to present day) and asked myself what happened to all of the orange groves.  Sad.  

“Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God.”-ThomasJefferson's picture

Beeks was last seen in the cage with michelle obama, taking the high hard one, while al franken just stood there.

Friedrich not Salma's picture

Citrus canker, which blemishes the fruit but doesn't affect juice quality, started the citrus decline around 2003 and .gov forcefully, under orders, removed all backyard citrus to prevent the spread. The 4 hurricanes in 2005 blew it all over the state. .Gov gave backyard folks $50 Walmart citrus tree certificates to replace their trees.
Then the Citrus Greening virus, from Asia, struck. It kills the tree. The decline in product over 10 to 15 years has been dramatic regardless of Irma. Whoever figures out a replacement crop for citrus farms will be a rich man.

Juggernaut x2's picture

Return it all to its natural state of swamp- the FL orange industry is subsidized like most US farming. 

Friedrich not Salma's picture

$150,000,000 subsidies per year over a 20 year average.
$75 per resident

90 percent of farms in Florida did not collect subsidy payments - according to USDA.

That's for ALL farms in Florida.


Citrus has a lot of small farmers, sugar is dominated by a few large companies or barons, such as the Fanjul family, and sugar subsidies cost $2 Billion per year. I don't know how my numbers above relate to this $2 Billion fact.

lasvegaspersona's picture

If you think greening is bad wait til the banana crop gets hit. Every single commercial tree on the planet is genetically identical and susseptible.

Some are worried about screwdrivers??? pffft daquiris will be a thing of the past.

Scornd's picture

Do you know the history of the Cavendish Banana?

newmacroman's picture

Cousin to the Weinstein banana?

Scornd's picture

Haha but no, crop failures are expected and there is a fix, it's why we have GMO. But cavendish was the real banana: tasted like banana candy. That variety was decimated and the cloned variety we have today is bland and tasteless. The future is in biotech. But only because we destroyed the original seeds/ clones.

Friedrich not Salma's picture

> crop failures are expected and there is a
> fix, it's why we have GMO.

That's why we have grafting and hybridization.

We don't need monkey tits on a banana using GMO methods.

And, no, that's not an Obama family joke.

Scornd's picture

Oh and this just happens. All by random accident

NickPeeMe's picture

there is always Tang and in todays America Tang is better for you than real oranges.

Yen Cross's picture

  Boy- I sure am glad I have an orange tree in my yard.

RagnarRedux's picture

Merry Christmas Beeks!

Scornd's picture

Good news for big ag imports and who cares about the small farmer wen we can ship them in at the lowest cost anyway? /sarc

Erwin643's picture

So the question is, why was the orange crop so low in 1942? What were they growing instead of oranges?

Pliskin's picture




U.S.A  U.S.A   U.S.A


BrownCoat's picture

Joke of the day: orange you glad they didn't grow bananas.

cheech_wizard's picture

Time for new groves of the native american Pawpaw?

The largest edible fruit to grow in the United States, the paw paw was often referred to as “the poor man’s banana” and is native to 26 different states.

As described by horticulturist Barbara Damrosch, the fruit of the pawpaw “looks a bit like mango, but with pale yellow, custardy, spoonable flesh and black, easy-to-remove seeds.”

Pawpaw fruits have a sweet, custardish flavor somewhat similar to banana, mango, and cantaloupe.

baldknobber's picture

Where, oh where is pretty little Susie?
Where, oh where is pretty little Susie?
Where, oh where is pretty little Susie?
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Come on, boys [or girls, or kids], let’s go find her,
Come on, boys, let’s go find her,
Come on, boys, let’s go find her,
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Pickin’ up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in her pockets,
Pickin’ up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in her pockets,
Pickin’ up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in her pockets,
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

—The Paw Paw Patch
Traditional folk song


My Grandma used to sing this to us kids as we walked through the woods looking for paw paws and picking gooseberries