Florida's Orange Crop Expected to Drop Even Lower This Year

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Agriculture officials say this year's orange crop will likely drop even lower this year.

The US Department of Agriculture says the drop will be eleven percent more than last year's already-low figures as growers slowly recover from hurricanes, citrus disease and a freeze.

The federal agriculture officials predict Florida's crop would be 132 million boxes of oranges for the 2006-07 season. That's a drop of about 15 million boxes from last year and down 88 million boxes that Florida produced before hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005,

Each box weighs 90 pounds.

Experts say thousands of acres of trees were wiped out by the hurricanes and citrus canker.

But citrus experts say this year's small crop means growers could see orange prices rise even higher.

Most of Florida's oranges are used for juice. Industry officials say the production drop will mean an increase in the price of the juice.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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