Plummeting Prices: Central Florida Groves not as Valuable as Used to be

Clint Thompson Citrus, Florida, Top Posts

UF/IFAS photo.

Central Florida grove land sold for about 30% less per net tree acre in 2020 than the year before, according to a firm that sells Florida land. Brian Beasley, senior advisor at SVN Saunders Ralston Dantzler in Lakeland, reported the sales in the firm’s Lay of the Land 2020 Market Report.

“We assume most of this decrease (in prices) is due to greening disease and lower processed fruit prices,” Beasley stated.

Beasley reported that the average net tree sales price in 2020 was $5,466 per gross acre and $7,306 per net tree acre, with $6,667 per net tree acre as a midpoint. Sales prices per net tree acre ranged from $3,371 to $13,000 per acre.

The report included 60 sales, with 23 in Polk County. Other sales reported, by county, were 14 in Highlands, 10 in Hendry, six in Hardee, five in DeSoto, and one each in Charlotte and Lake.

Increased Volume

While the price per acre was down, the volume of reported citrus acreage sold was up, from 5,731 gross acres in 2019 to 8,681 gross acres in 2020.

The 60 transactions included the November 2020 sale of 3,280 gross acres and 2,190 net tree acres in Hendry County for $16.45 million. Beasley reported the per acre prices in that sale at $5,105 per gross acre and $7,511 per net tree acre. The sale price reportedly did not include the crop. Only five of the 60 grove sales did include the crop.  

Although this year’s report did not include grove sales outside Central Florida, senior advisor Jeff Cusson noted the sale of a 330-acre grapefruit grove in Vero Beach for $3 million. That grove was sold to a packer-grower in the area.

In his report, Beasley pointed out that cash and contract juice prices offered to growers are significantly lower than in other recent years. He added that groves with breakeven or negative cash flows are discounted significantly, while better-producing, positive cash-flowing operations command a better price. “Citrus greening disease continues to be a challenge,” he wrote.

Source: SVN Saunders Ralston Dantzler