Sources of variation in juice quality of `Valencia'sweet orange [Citrus sinensis(L.) Osb.] were quantified and their relative contributions to variability in juice quality were determined, from which sample sizes were estimated. Commercial orchards of `Valencia' sweet orange trees on Carrizo citrange [C. sinensis × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] rootstock were selected at four geographic locations representing the major citrus-producing regions in Florida. Within- and between-tree variation in soluble solids concentration (SSC) and titratable acidity (TA) were estimated in two experiments over two or three seasons, respectively. Variance components for all treatment effects were estimated to partition total variation into all possible component sources of variation. Seasonal variation in SSC and TA was relatively small, but larger for TA than SSC. Variation in SSC among blocks within a location was intermediate to low, and was less than variation among locations. In contrast, tree-to-tree variation in SSC and TA was large, in spite of sampling from trees of similar vigor and crop load, and variation in SSC and TA among fruit was relatively large. Based on results of this study, samples consisting of 35 fruit are required to detect differences (P ≤ 0.05) of 0.3% SSC and 0.06% TA, whereas 20-fruit samples can be used to detect differences of 0.4% SSC and 0.08% TA. Seven replications are required to detect differences of 0.5% SSC and 0.1% TA, with small gains in precision when tree numbers exceed 10.
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