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Citrus | Navel oranges

NSW citrus growing regions will maintain very high suitability for production under a changing climate.

Citrus production in NSW is concentrated in the Riverina region, but also extends across most of the state.Citrus in NSW

Citrus is one of the most important horticultural industries in NSW with a production value for oranges of $218.8 million in 2021-22, representing 52% of Australian production. Irrigation is critical to citrus production, and the regions are supplied from the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers. The map shows citrus growing regions in NSW. Darker colours represent a higher production of fruit.

The key citrus phenophases assessed in this project are flower induction, budburst and initial shoot growth, late shoot growth and flowering, fruit set/cell division, cell enlargement, and maturity and harvest.

What is the NSW DPIRD Climate Vulnerability Assessment? ⏷

Climate change is altering the growing conditions for many agricultural commodities across NSW. Primary producers need evidence-based information about the changing climate, and the risks and opportunities it may bring.

The NSW DPIRD Climate Vulnerability Assessments are enhancing the resilience of our primary industries by providing information and data to help the sector better plan for, and respond to, climate change. They have assessed climate change impacts for extensive livestock, broadacre and irrigated cropping, marine fisheries, forestry, horticulture and viticulture, and important biosecurity risks associated with these industries to inform sound planning, risk management and adaptation decisions.

Learn more about the Climate Vulnerability Assessment.

How we assessed climate suitability ⏷

Climate projections were sourced from Climate Change in Australia’s ‘Application Ready Data’. This dataset is comprised of projections from an ensemble of 8 global climate models, each presenting a plausible future climate. The models differ in their projections, giving rise to uncertainty which is reflected in the confidence statements given in brackets. Care should be taken when interpreting these results.

The Climate Vulnerability Assessment is intended to highlight potential industry- or regional-level changes. Intermediate and high emissions scenarios were used in the assessments (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), but these are not the only future scenarios possible. The inclusion of climate variables important to the commodities production was based on published research, expert knowledge and data quality and availability.

Learn more in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Project Framework.

Climate impacts: what to expect

Citrus growing regions in NSW will continue to have very high climate suitability for growing citrus by 2050 under both emissions scenarios.

Citrus vulnerabilities

  • Irrigation water requirements are likely to increase for citrus-growing regions in the future (moderate to low confidence). The increase is likely to be greatest under the high emissions scenario.
  • There is likely to be an increase in the number of days with temperatures over 40°C during cell enlargement (moderate to high confidence). This is likely to minimally decrease the suitability of the Dareton and Griffith regions and increase the risk of sunburnt fruit. The vulnerability is likely to be greatest under the high emissions scenario.

Citrus opportunities

  • The number of days with temperatures below –3°C is likely to decrease in budburst and initial shoot growth (high confidence). This is likely to minimally increase suitability in the Narromine and Griffith regions.
  • The reduction in the number of days with temperatures below –4°C in late shoot growth and flowering will have a minimal to moderate change east of Gunnedah (high confidence). A warmer climate is likely to benefit citrus production through the reduced risk of frost.

Adapting to the changing climate

Adapting to increased risk of sunburn

  • Implementing windbreaks and overhead netting could help the citrus industry adapt to sunburn risk. More research and development is needed to understand the financial and productivity impacts of this approach.

Adapting to increased irrigation water requirements

  • The citrus industry may need to improve water efficiency through changing irrigation practices, upgrading water infrastructure or adopting new technologies.

Where can I find the climate suitability maps?

Maps of historical and future climate suitability for horticultural commodities were produced to demonstrate where in the state a commodity is likely to thrive or else be limited by future climatic conditions. The maps are not provided on these webpages but can be found in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Summary Report  (PDF, 41425.92 KB).

Citrus Factsheet

(PDF, 2156.24 KB)

Summary Report

(PDF, 41425.92 KB)

Related Climate Vulnerability Assessments

Contact us

For more information please email: vulnerability.assessment@dpi.nsw.gov.au