The Week in Florida Agriculture
January 21-27, 2008
Soil moisture supplies in the Panhandle and northern Peninsula were rated mostly short to adequate. Panhandle pasture condition was very poor to good with most in poor condition. Forage growth was limited due to cold weather and drought. Cabbage cutting continued. Potato planting was in full swing in the tri-county agricultural area. Recent rains and warmer weather have brought new life to the pastures. Tomatoes and peppers continued to move through the market in Plant City and surrounding areas. Drought limited forage growth. Topsoil and subsoil moisture in the central and southern Peninsula were also rated very short to adequate. Sugarcane harvesting continued in the Everglades region. Vegetable planting and harvesting continued with yields negatively impacted as a result of freezing conditions earlier in January. VEGETABLES: Vegetables and non-citrus fruit marketed during the week included avocados, snap beans, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, lettuce, peppers, squash, sweet corn, strawberries, and tomatoes. DROUGHT UPDATE: Floridaís natural dry season which lasts from Nov. till May, will be even dryer because of La Nina. Itís a pretty safe bet that the next 3 months will be dryer than normal. Rainfall ranged from minimal traces to over one inch in Orange, Dade, Levy, Marion, Broward, Lake, and Putnam. The counties of Hillsborough, St Lucie, and Santa Rosa received close to an inch of rain. Elsewhere, most areas received less than half an inch of precipitation for the week. CITRUS: Most counties in the northern and central regions had cool mornings, moderate afternoon temperatures, and steady showers during the week. This provided ideal growing conditions for the upper part of the citrus-producing areas. The western citrus-producing region lacked in rainfall with less than one tenth of an inch. Research to address the challenges of greening and canker continued to be on the fore-front of the citrus industry. Estimated early and midseason orange harvest went over six million boxes for the week. Navel orange and Sunburst tangerine harvest has slowed, but continued to come in. Honey tangerine harvest is picking up rapidly. Overall, trees and fruit were in good condition. Fruit sets on all varieties were above average. Varieties being harvested included early, midseason, Navel, and Temple oranges; grapefruit; Sunburst and Honey tangerines, and tangelos.