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Global warming

Florida orange crop drops to lowest level in years due to weather changes

Friday, October 13, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: global warming, oranges, climate change


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(NewsTarget) Along with its prediction Thursday that weather conditions would cause a drop in wheat production and stockpiles, the USDA also announced that this year's orange crop in Florida would be the smallest crop in more than 17 years.

For the 2003-2004 crop, Florida orange production was 242 million (90 pound) boxes; production dropped to less than 150 million boxes in 2004-2005 and then to 147.9 million for 2005-2006. Forecasts project about 135 million boxes for this season's crop, a 44 percent drop from 2003-2004.

According to the USDA, the drop in production is likely due to a rash of hurricanes that have recently hit Florida -- the nation's most prolific citrus producer -- along with a harmful citrus canker disease.

The recent dry, hot weather has forced regular irrigation, which also hurt the state's citrus production, along with the appropriation of citrus groves for expanding urban and residential areas.

"Once again, we're seeing the effects of global warming's radical weather patterns on food production," said Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate. "As climate change accelerates, weather patterns will become even more severe, and food production will be devastated globally.

"This year's disappointing orange crop is only the beginning of what's in store for humanity as the effects of climate change begin to unfold," he said.

Orange juice futures surged in the wake of the news, causing the New York Board of Trade's FCPJ contract (OJX6) to close Wednesday at 164.80 cents per pound.

The last time orange production dipped this low was during the 1989-1990 season, when freeze damage left production at 10.2 million boxes.

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