The Week in Florida Agriculture
February 11-17, 2008
Heavy rains in parts of the Panhandle causing delays in early spring field preparation. Foggy mornings and mild temperatures are causing disease problems in cole crops. Potato planting is ongoing in the tri-county agricultural area. Strawberry harvest in Starke is reported to be light. Area growers in Palatka continue to harvest and pack cabbage. Demand for strawberries continues to be good, and volume is increasing in Plant City. Peppers were planted and should be ready for harvest next month. Potato growers continue spring planting in Central Florida, with the majority of acreage completed. Floriculture operations are in full swing as producers prepare for high demand generated by the upcoming Mother's Day holiday Sugarcane harvesting remains active in the Everglades region. Harvesting of collards, cabbage, kale, and peppers continues in Fort Myers. Winter vegetable continues to be harvested in Pompano. Crops of beans, corn, squash and tomatoes looks good; harvesting and packing continues in Florida City. Vegetables: Crops marketed throughout the week: cucumbers, eggplant, celery, sweet corn, endive, escarole, and radishes. Drought Update: A cold front passed through the state early in the week and caused thunderstorms, high winds and heavy rainfall in some areas. Broward County received more than three inches of rain. Parts of the Panhandle and central and southern peninsula received one to two inches of rain. In the Panhandle and northern areas, most pasture conditions are very poor to good. Temperatures were down to freezing with drought and limited forage growth. In central areas, lingering effects of a prolonged drought and near-freezing temperatures limited forage growth. In the southwestern areas, pastures were very poor to excellent with most poor to fair. Due to the drought and the January frost, pastures are very short. Citrus: February rainfall still remains below the 10-year historical average. During the previous week, most citrus-producing areas experienced temperatures ranging from lows in the 30s to highs in the low 80s. New growth flush and bloom is still negligible. Early fertilizer applications have begun with continued irrigation to prepare for a possible early-season bloom. Systemic pesticide applications continue during this period to promote healthier trees for better crop set. Spraying by ground and air continues for Psyllid reduction. Citrus producers harvested 7,008,000 boxes during the survey week (preliminary), up from the preliminary 228,000 boxes during October 2007 reference week. Varieties being harvested included early, midseason, Navel, Temple, and small amounts of Valencia oranges; grapefruit; Sunburst and Honey tangerines; and tangelos.