Disease and bad weather are having a devastating effect on Florida's orange crop, putting it on track for the worst yield in 86 years.
Florida orange farmers were already grappling with a severe frost last January and the effects of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. Now they have to deal with citrus greening, a disease that cuts off nutrients to orange trees, lowering the quality of their fruit and eventually killing them.
The crop is projected to be 20 million boxes, which would be a 51% drop from last year and the lowest yield since the 1936-37 growing season. The 2004 crop was 240 million boxes, said a Florida official quoted by CNN.
Orange juice prices are expected to go up sharply at retail. They have already risen 7% in the 12 months since late November, and juice futures are now up 42%.