The Week in Florida Agriculture
January 14-20, 2008
Few strawberries are being harvested and packed in Starke and Wauchula, respectively. Tomatoes and peppers continue to move through the market in Plant City and surrounding areas. Cabbage, broccoli and variety of mixed greens are being harvested in the tri-county area. Growers continue to plant potatoes in Palatka. Tomatoes and peppers continue to move through the market in Plant City and surrounding areas. Vegetables Tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, beans, celery, sweet corn, endive, escarole and radishes are being marketed. Citrus Trees and fruit overall are reported in good condition. Fruit sets on all varieties are above average. Varieties being harvested are early, midseason, Navel and Temple oranges, grapefruit, Sunburst and Honey tangerines, and tangelos. Drought Update In the Panhandle and northern areas, cattle are reported in poor to fair condition. Pastures are reported in very poor to good condition, with most in poor condition. Grazing potential is better due to recent rains, but cold weather prevented substantive improvement in forage volume or quality. Hay stock is very limited and of low quality; cost of supplemental feed is high. Moisture is barely adequate for sustaining grass growth in many locations, and cattle pond water levels remain low. Scattered showers throughout the state at the end of week did provide much-needed rain, with the Panhandle receiving two to four inches and parts of the Big Bend receiving one to three inches. Other areas of the central and southern Peninsula received half an inch to two inches. Freeze Update Strawberry growers lost $9.5 million in sales, up from a $4.7 million reported loss due to recent freeze, compared to the same pickings of last season. Growers picked an average 34 percent fewer flats after the freeze stunted many of their berries. Normal harvest is more than a million flats a week during early and mid-January. Tropical fish industry final losses from the cold snap were an average of 20 percent to 25 percent ($8 million). Depending on location, some had no loss while others had devastating losses. Hay supplies and quality are suffering due to the early-morning frost, cold temperatures and insufficient rain.