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The 2018-2019 orange crop forecast update for São Paulo and West-Southwest Minas Gerais citrus belt, published on September 10, 2018 by Fundecitrus – performed in cooperation with Markestrat, FEA-RP/USP and FCAV/Unesp2 – is of 273.34 million boxes of 40.8 kg each. This figure corresponds to a decrease of 5.19 % in relation to the estimate published in May/2018. Approximately 15.37 million boxes of the total crop should be produced in the Triângulo Mineiro.

Fruit of all varieties harvested up to August presented average weight below the May/2018 forecast. Smaller fruit resulted from a more severe drought than expected for May to July at the time of the estimate. Rainfall in that period is directly related to fruit development and consequently to final fruit weight at harvest. Climatological expectations at that time pointed to a less rainy year, with an accumulated average rainfall for those months of approximately 101 millimeters for the citrus belt, which is 24 % below historical average (1981-2010). However, the actual accumulated rainfall volume for that period was 36 millimeters, 73 % below historical average, characterizing the worst drought in the ten assessed years. More significant rain above historical average only fell in August in the South, Southwest and most of Central regions, with an average of 103 millimeters, whereas for the remainder of the citrus belt the average rainfall for that month was 38 millimeters.

Harvest reached 93 % completion for the early Hamlin, Westin and Rubi varieties, and 75 % for other earlies. Harvest totaled 29 % for the Pera variety, 15 % for the Valencia and Valencia Folha Murcha varieties, and 10 % for the Natal variety. Approximately 36 % of the total 2018-2019 crop was harvested. At the same time last crop season, harvest was 34 % complete. The main difference between the two crop seasons is that the current harvest progressed faster to late varieties. That indicates the crop season will finish earlier. Although the harvest of the Pera and late varieties is still in early stages, it is already necessary to adjust fruit size due to the water deficit that affected full development …

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