The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a dire forecast for Florida’s orange crop.
The estimate released Tuesday predicts that the 2015-2016 orange crop will be down 8 percent from the previous year.
Officials predict the state’s orange production will be 74 million boxes. By comparison, in the 2012-2013 year, 133 million boxes were harvested.
The newly released statistics show just how severely citrus greening has devastated Florida’s top fruit crop.
Greening is spread by a gnat-sized insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. Greening causes fruit to shrink and drop early and eventually kills the tree.
The bulk of Florida’s oranges are processed into juice.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.