California Valencia crop down 6 percent

The 2008-09 Valencia orange forecast is 30 million (37.5-pound) cartons, 6 percent below last season’s estimated total of 32 million cartons.

Objective measurement survey data indicated an average fruit set of 435 oranges per tree in California. Fruit sizes increased this year, with an average diameter of 2.587 inches.

This year, Valencia oranges were sampled from 655 groves or blocks. The sample blocks were distributed in proportion to the bearing acres in each county and the year the trees were planted. Two trees were sampled in each selected block. Sampling was done by measuring branches, randomly selecting a branch at that stage, then moving to the next stage and repeating the steps until a terminal branch was selected. All oranges on intermediate and terminal branches were counted. Two separate random counts were taken in each tree. The two counts were mathematically combined to arrive at an estimated total fruit count per tree. Fruit diameter measurements were made on the right quadrant of four trees surrounding the sampled tree. One out of every three blocks was selected for sizing.

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