Contact: Jay Johnson (202) 720-5141
Jeff Geuder (407) 648-6013
USDA to Survey Hurricane Wilma's Impact on Florida Citrus Crops
WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2005 - In the wake of Hurricane Wilma, which struck Florida on Oct. 24, the Florida Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced plans to conduct a special citrus survey to assess current crop conditions.
The survey, scheduled to begin Nov. 7, will recount the fruit on sample trees in the areas affected by the hurricane. The updated average, along with indications of fruit size and droppage, will be used to produce a utilized production forecast for USDA's December Crop Production report, to be released Dec. 9 at 8:30 a.m., EST.
"Although the eye of Hurricane Wilma passed to the south of the major citrus producing areas of the state, it was such a large storm that the effects have been observed well to the north of Wilma's path," reported Benjamin Klugh, Jr., director of the NASS Florida Field Office. "During the next couple of weeks, crews will be busy measuring the effects of the storm throughout the Southern and East Coast regions of the Florida Citrus Belt." The Florida citrus estimating procedures are among the most highly developed U.S. agricultural statistics programs. A representative sample of blocks of citrus trees is visited every year between mid-July and mid-September to select random trees and limbs for fruit counts. Beginning in August of each year, a separate set of sample groves is visited monthly to determine droppage and fruit size. Around the first of each month a third sample of citrus fruit blocks is visited to determine maturity.