In the face of production declines, pest issues and other challenges, multi-county Florida citrus grower David Wheeler of Wheeler Farms found something positive to report.
“One bright spot is the health of our young trees,” he said. “They look outstanding and have been on a good program with a rotation of insecticides.”
Wheeler Farms’ more mature citrus trees aren’t doing so well. “Our older trees continue to struggle and decline,” Wheeler reported.
“Our pick outs and production were down for the 2020-21 season,” Wheeler said. “What compounded this is the fact that the quality of the juice was lower also. The pound solids were lower.”
Wheeler Farms has much company in the Florida citrus industry. Total Florida citrus production has plummeted since HLB was discovered in the state in 2005. Florida produced just 52.8 million boxes of oranges in 2020-21, down from 67.4 million boxes in 2019-20 and 71.85 million boxes in 2018-19.