AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texans looking to buy Lone Star oranges can expect to deal with a spike in prices. In a new report, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts partially blame the drought, but also earlier problems for the overall industry caused by Hurricane Ian in September 2022. That storm, which hit Florida, damaged as much as one-third of the crop.
A 3-pound bag of navel oranges cost just $4.05 last year, but now will cost $4.46. A single orange went from 89 cents to $1.11.
The season for Texas buyers starts now and runs through April. According to Texas Citrus Mutual, in the state growers produce more than 9 million cartons of grapefruit and oranges annually, and another 5 million cartons of juice fruit worth over $100 million dollars.
Most Texas oranges are grown with irrigation systems that pull water from the Rio Grande River system. “Both reservoirs that supply water to our producers are extremely low, and last week, two irrigation districts out of 26 have shut down irrigation supplies to growers due to low levels in the two reservoirs,” Juan Anciso, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist said. He added growers anticipated that issue, so they worked to store water ahead of time.
Oranges aren’t the only Texas fruit crop impacted by the weather this year. Earlier this summer, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service reported watermelons may taste less sweet.