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No cold weather damage to Florida citrus crop -growers group

Source: Reuters - Fri, 17 Jan 2014 19:01 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds market reaction) MIAMI, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Cold weather overnight did not harm oranges and other fruit across Florida's citrus-growing regions, the state's leading growers association said on Friday. "Came through in good shape. No reports of damage currently. Had some high 20s, low 30s. Not cold enough, long enough," Andrew Meadows, a spokesman for Florida Citrus Mutual, said. Typically, citrus can be damaged by four hours or more of temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 2 Celsius) but Meadows said that had not happened, even in northern citrus-producing regions of Florida. Florida accounts for about 75 percent of the U.S. orange crop and as much as 40 percent of the world's orange juice supply. The U.S. frozen concentrated orange juice market did not show signs of concern regarding the forecast for cold temperatures in Florida. On Friday, the benchmark contract on ICE Futures U.S. settled up 0.3 percent at $1.4185 per lb. The weather for central Florida's citrus fields is forecast to warm up on Friday to the mid 60s before plummeting again into the mid-30s on Saturday night. Meadows said he remains "cautiously optimistic" that the crop will avoid damage. Even when orange groves are hit by a freeze the fruit is usually salvageable, though it will yield less juice than normal. (Additional reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York; Writing By David Adams; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid and Gunna Dickson)

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