Hammered by greening, USDA estimates Florida's citrus crop is lower than last year


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BARTOW, Florida — Hammered by citrus greening disease, Florida's citrus industry will produce an estimated 102 million boxes of oranges during the 2014-15 season.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday released estimates of Florida's citrus crop. The forecast is a decline of 59 percent since the peak of citrus production at 254 million boxes in 1997-98.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam said the industry continues to be threatened by citrus greening.

The Palm Beach Post (http://pbpo.st/1Af8fH0) reports that he's asked the Legislature for $18 million this year to support research, to grow clean citrus stock and to remove and replant diseased trees.

Greening is a bacterial disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid that weakens and eventually kills trees.

Information from: The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, http://www.pbpost.com

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