LAKELAND, Fla. -- Citrus growers in Florida were still assessing the damage last 20week from a cold snap that hit the state.
"We don't have any hard figures on damage yet," said Shannon Ross, manager of public affairs for Florida Citrus Mutual here. "We do know that we are going to see some statewide damage. Juice yields could be down, as well as box yields."
Ross told SN that reliable estimates of damage from the freeze would probably not be available until mid-February. The northern part of the state was hit the hardest, she said. The frigid weather was part of a February cold spell that held much of the country in its grip, leading to frighteningly low temperatures in regions such as the Midwest. A source at Seald-Sweet Growers, a Vero Beach, Fla., cooperative and major supplier, reported that the amount of fruit at risk of serious damage was slight, since much of the fruit in the northern part of the state had already been picked.
Seald-Sweet's packing houses were generally spared, said Tom Cowan, vice president of national accounts for the company.
"Right now, we think damage was minimal," he told SN. "There may be a decrease in juice yield."
Along the west coast of Florida, temperatures did drop below 28 degrees for more than four hours, which is the point at which citrus starts to crystallize, he said.
However, much of Seald-Sweet's affected citrus in the western part of the state is of the Valencia variety, which he said recovers "pretty well after crystallization."