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Florida's orange crop forecast to hit 52-year low

Staff writer |
State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam wants another $8.5 million next year to help a deadly citrus disease, as Florida's orange crop was forecast to hit a 52-year low .

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The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that Florida's signature crop will fill the equivalent of 80 million 90-pound boxes, a 17 percent drop from 96.8 million boxes collected during the 2014-2015 growing season.

Production has declined from a peak of 244 million boxes during the 1997-1998 season.

The money requested next year for citrus-disease research is part of $18.7 million Putnam wants from lawmakers for the citrus industry, which has a projected $10.7 billion impact on the state economy.

Orange-juice futures had their largest daily gain since June following the government forecast.

Frozen concentrated orange juice for November delivery rose 4.8% to end at $1.159 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, the largest daily gain for the most-active contract since June 8.

The estimate of the 2015-2016 Florida grapefruit crop is 12.3 million boxes. Specialty fruit checked in at 2.2 million boxes. The yield for frozen concentrate orange juice is 1.61 gallons per 90-pound box.

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