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Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, M-9
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
(850) 617-7300

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner

The Week in Florida Agriculture

January 7-13, 2008

The Week in Florida Agriculture

Panhandle pasture conditions are reported very poor to good, with most poor. Cattle conditions are reported very poor to excellent, with most in poor condition. Foggy mornings and mild temperatures are causing disease problems in Cole crops. Potato planting has started in the tri-county area Central Florida pastures are reported mainly poor to fair, with stock ponds dry and pastures brown from drought. Strawberry harvesting continues. Wind and cold damage to vegetables from the previous week’s freeze is becoming more apparent. Some plantings lost tops, but damage is not uniform across the area. Sugarcane harvesting remains active in Everglades. Vegetables: Snap beans, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, peppers, radishes, squash, strawberries and tomatoes are being marketed. Citrus: Minimal damage to citrus from the previous week’s freezing temperatures was reported. Cool mornings in January have been beneficial to the trees to harden them for any upcoming freezing temperatures. The citrus-growing area recording the most rain was Apopka with three-quarters of and inch, followed by Fort Pierce and Lake Alfred with a half-inch. Varieties being harvested included early, midseason, Navel, and Temple oranges; grapefruit; Sunburst and Honey tangerines; and tangelos. The orange forecast remains at 168.0 million boxes. Final sizes are the smallest since the 2000-01 seasons due to drought. The forecast of grapefruit is unchanged at 25.0 million boxes. If realized, this forecast will be 8.1 percent less than harvested last season, and the lowest for a non-disaster season since the 24.2 million boxes harvested in 1949-50. Average sizes for white grapefruit are projected to be the smallest in a series dating back to 1968-69 and the smallest since the minimum recorded in the 1990-91 season. -- USDA Agricultural Statistics Board Drought Effects : Drought in the Southeast is forcing cattle herd liquidation. Without adequate rain to maintain pastures and grow hay and forage, many producers have been forced to liquidate their herds because they can no longer afford to feed them. Producers report feed costs have more than doubled. Drinking water for cattle is also in short supply as ponds and creeks dry up, forcing producers to purchase water for cattle, along with feed. Producers are reporting that in many instances cattle are as much as 100 pounds lighter than normal. Up to one-quarter of the United States' calf production is in the Southeast, the area comprised by Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. The USDA says cattle processing is up 19 percent in this region compared to the same timeframe in 2006. -- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

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