Citrus harvest is not looking sour in south Texas

The south Texas citrus industry is poised for a comeback. It has been a rough ride for producers for close to two years.

Fred Karle, a McAllen, Texas citrus producer, is excited about what he is seeing in his citrus groves this year. During these turbulent times, he is finally seeing good signs.

“We’ve had good weather recently, where hopefully we take all those heat units we got during the summer and take the good rain we’ve gotten recently and then make a good crop,” he said.

Harvest is already starting in south Texas as they are just starting to pick our navel oranges now.

“The so-called early oranges, those varieties will probably get started after that and then grapefruit along in a couple more weeks, when we get all the testing past as far as the amount of sugar and amount of juice-- the ratio of those two,” he said.

Citrus growers in south Texas have suffered since a prosperous season back in 2018. Karle says that the amount of fruit packed since then has gone down about 5-10 percent each year.

“Last year ended up in quite a disaster market-wise and yield-wise; the size of our fruit was often small... The hurricane hurt us some, particularly in Cameron County,” he said. “It probably knocked off 10-25 percent of our grapefruit on some groves.”

Karle notes that south Texas citrus growers are hoping this is a great start to recovering losses suffered since 2018.

Hurricane Hanna produces huge losses for Texas citrus growers.

Texas is a big state with a big citrus industry.