Supply decreases due to weather were the primary cause of higher prices. The drought this is only added on to the damage done by Hurricane Ian in September 2022. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the storm caused losses of one-third of the crop. Also, orange production in Brazil dipped slightly this year due to drought.
Orange production had already been declining as demand waned over the past decade, said David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, Bryan-College Station. The additional production losses for two of the U.S. market’s major orange sources further tightened supplies.
Grocery stores and consumers around the nation have noticed a 3-pound bag of navel oranges is being sold this year for $4.46 compared to last year’s $4.05. Single oranges are priced around $1.11 compared to the previous year’s 89 cents.
“Consumption and production of oranges and orange juice has been declining since the 1980s,” Anderson said. “With supplies decreasing, we’ve seen prices increase.”
Impacts on orange production
Juan Anciso, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Weslaco, said, “We are in a crossroads on production.”
Like most crops this year, drought affected 2023 orange yields and quality, Anciso said. Most Texas oranges are grown under irrigation systems pulling water from the Rio Grande River system.
“Both reservoirs that supply water to our producers are extremely low, and last week, two irrigation districts out of 26 have shut down irrigation supplies to growers due to low levels in the two reservoirs,” Anciso said.
Since most producers knew there was a high possibility for irrigation districts to cut access, they prepared for this season’s October and November crop by storing enough water to get through before the districts shut down. Still, the December and January crops will desperately need water.
“Texas consumers, be on the lookout from now until next April to purchase your Texas fruit,” said Anciso.
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
Rain amounts ranged from traces to over 3 inches. The rain provided topsoil moisture and helped the emergence of fall-planted winter grain forages, and pastures greened up. Some tanks caught water. Small grain planting continued as producers were optimistic about rain chances. Cooler temperatures arrived toward the end of the week. Most producers could get a hay-cutting in the next two to three weeks. Armyworms were reported in the area. Overall, rangeland and pasture conditions were very poor to good. Livestock were in poor to good condition.
All counties reported some precipitation and cooler temperatures. Farmers started sowing winter wheat before the rains, and planting across the district was in full swing. Most cattle producers cut back on supplemental feeding as pastures showed a bit of improvement. Damage to the cotton crop from the intense heat and dry conditions this summer were becoming more evident. Reports were not optimistic for much of a cotton crop this season.
Scattered rainfall replenished soil moisture conditions in most areas. Most fieldwork was on hold until conditions dried up some. There were still approximately 350 acres of second-crop rice to be harvested. Winter forage such as oats and ryegrass were planted for grazing. Some areas reported good forage, and others continued supplemental feeding for herds due to short grass. Hay remained in short supply. Many producers were trying to hold on to cattle while others were weaning and culling. Cattle prices were still at historic highs with steady to lower inventories.
Rain was received across the district, and hay meadows and pastures were improving. There were many reports of armyworm infestations as pasture conditions improved. Cherokee County reported that some producers began spraying for armyworms while others decided to cut forages they had instead of spraying. Hay was still being brought in from out of state. Recent rainfall helped fall gardens and jump-started winter pasture planting. Cattle markets remained strong. Livestock were doing fair to good with some supplementation taking place.
The district received more than 2 inches of rainfall, but subsoil and topsoil moisture levels did not improve. Producers were starting to harvest peas. Cattle were in good condition.
The district received scattered showers, with most areas reporting less than half an inch of rainfall. Producers prepared for the corn and sorghum harvests. Some sunflowers that survived a recent hailstorm were waiting to be harvested. Winter wheat planting continued with many acres being dry planted. Wheat germination and emergence were excellent in areas that received rain. Some irrigated wheat planted for pasture was expected to provide early grazing.
Pastures and rangelands were in very poor to poor condition for most counties. Subsoil and topsoil moisture levels were very short to short for most of the counties. Temperatures started to drop over the past week. Counties within the district received anywhere from 1-10 inches of rainfall over the past week. All summer crops were harvested, and the ground was prepared for winter wheat planting. Hay was being fed in many parts of the district. Livestock conditions were fair and continued to improve.
Temperatures were cooler and varied from the mid-50s to low-90s. Precipitation averaged between trace amounts to 0.75 of an inch. Pea- to golf ball-sized hail was reported in some areas. Cotton harvest was underway. Yields were below average and lower than expected. Most growers were preparing to plant wheat or planting. Wheat already planted was either still sitting in the ground or struggling to emerge due to lack of moisture. Alfalfa continued growing but should slow down soon. Pecan orchards were still being watered. The pecan load looked very good this year. Pastures remained bare of almost anything green except for a few weeds in low-lying areas. Livestock were in fair condition as supplemental feeding continued.
Scattered showers brought up to 1 inch of rain to some counties. Temperatures dropped to the mid- to upper-80s. Producers started plowing fields in preparation for small grain planting, and some fields were planted. Producers hoped early planted fields that received rain would provide much-needed grazing this fall and winter. Some cotton bolls were opening. Producers were spraying in preparation for harvest. The district experienced an increase in insect pests such as armyworms and weevils. Pastures were showing some green, but more rain was needed to get a head start on winter and spring grass. Cattle were in good shape, and producers continued supplemental feeding.
Multiple counties received rain that allowed the burn ban to be lifted, but most areas needed 7-10 inches to get out of drought conditions. Pastures started greening up, and many producers were fighting armyworms in rangelands and hay fields. Cotton harvest began. Dryland cotton was in very poor condition, but irrigated cotton looked good. Cattle prices remained strong.
Recent rains provided some much-needed moisture to the area. Temperatures cooled some, with nights forecasted in the 50s and 60s. Last week’s cooler temperatures and rain brought relief from the heat, but moisture conditions were not enough to relieve drought. Pastures should respond well to these conditions. All summer crops were harvested, and preparations were being made for winter wheat planting. Pecan scab was evident in some improved orchards; however, pecan size and yield were not affected. Supplemental feeding continued for livestock.
Cooler temperatures swept the district, and some much-needed rainfall was reported with 1.5-4 inches reported in some areas. Most cotton fields were harvested. Peanut harvest was delayed due to the recent rainfall. Hay fields were cut and baled before the rain. Pecan orchards were being harvested, and production appeared normal. Livestock were in good condition, although some producers continued culling their herds.
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