CITRUS GROWERS FACE MORE RAIN AND COLD WEATHER
December 8, 2013
Citrus Damage Inspections to be Conducted this Week
California Citrus Mutual reported TODAY that citrus producers received a welcomed reprieve last night from freeze conditions after 3 consecutive nights of cold weather. A dense cloud cover elevated temperatures, steadying in most areas around the mid-30s. Although rain is much needed, tonight's forecast calls for extremely cold temperatures, which may pose challenges for dampened fruit.
This Mandarin Orchard was braving freezing temps late Saturday night
with wind machines churning.
The extent of damage is difficult to determine immediately following a freeze event, as initial damage will occur inside the fruit. Growers are now also concerned that rainy conditions coupled with low overnight temperatures tonight will leave the fruit susceptible to exterior damage and ice mark.
County inspectors and packing house personnel will begin inspecting the fruit for damage as early as this coming week by cutting the fruit and visually inspecting each segment for discoloration and dryness. This breakdown occurs over the course of several days as temperatures rise and requires a trained eye to determine. If rain conditions persist, this process could take longer, making assessment of overall crop damage more difficult. Once inspections are complete, fruit that does not pass regulatory standards are restricted from entering the market.
"The entire program is designed to maintain the integrity of the market for California citrus," says Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen. "The industry collectively funds the cost of enhanced inspections at packing houses to ensure any damaged fruit does not make its way into the market place.” Although the cost has a negative impact on grower returns, the industry collectively agrees that ensuring great quality is the priority.
California Citrus Mutual is a non-profit trade association of citrus growers, with approximately 2,200 members representing 70% California's 285,000-acre, $2 billion citrus industry.