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Rains were below the average for October in three of the four main citrus regions in São Paulo State; therefore, growers were very concerned with the development of the 2018/19 crop. Although it rained in early October, the soil was really dry and the volume was not enough to recover moisture for flower settlement. This scenario, added to high temperatures, favored fruitlet drops.

Fruitlets had already dropped more intensely in the non-irrigated groves from central and northern SP, where the weather is usually drier and warmer – even before it rained in early October.

Agents do not expect significant sprouts in the plants with flower buds, even with the return of rains. Others, in turn, believe new flowering events may occur if rains are enough, but not as significant as the main event (from late August to early September).

On the other hand, in southwestern SP, the rain volume until October 19 had surpassed the average volume expected for the month, according to Climatempo (weather forecast agency). The only concern, according to growers consulted by Cepea, was with sharp temperature oscillations, which may lead to a higher rate of fruitlet drops.

CROP 2017/18– Regarding the current crop (2017/18), high temperatures led oranges on trees to wilt again, making it difficult for fruits to remain on the trees in the rainy period. The losses early in the month were estimated at around 20 % in older groves and at around 15 % in younger groves, mainly in the plants affected by greening.

In this scenario, the quality of in natura oranges was lower than that demanded by the segment, justifying price rises. In October, pear orange quotes averaged 19.24 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 11 % up compared to that in September.