The Week in Florida Agriculture
February 18-24, 2008
Warming weather is allowing a slight improvement in pasture conditions. Heavy rains are increasing the water levels in livestock ponds. Some producers are planting watermelons. Cabbage harvesting is gaining momentum as the St. Patrick’s Day holiday draws near. Pasture conditions are beginning to improve as a result of regular rains and generally warm weather Some producers are planting watermelons Strawberry growers prepare for the annual festival in Plant City. The early January freeze has reduced strawberry yields. Vegetables: Producers are marketing snap beans, cabbage, celery, sweet corn, eggplant, endive, escarole, peppers, potatoes, radishes, squash, strawberries, and tomatoes. Drought Update: Heavy rains have delayed field work in the Panhandle area throughout the week. Jackson, Jefferson and Gadsden counties reported over six inches of rain for the week. Santa Rosa, Marion, Alachua, Hillsborough, Levy, Franklin, Suwannee, Baker and Putnam counties reported over one inch of rain for the week. However, some areas in the southeast part of the peninsula received very little measurable rain. Citrus: February rainfall amounts still remain below the 10-year historical average, with only light, scattered rainfall in citrus areas during the week. The rainfall was very beneficial as trees were preparing to flush out new growth and bloom. New growth flush and bloom is still negligible but more noticeable in some groves. Early fertilizer applications continue along with irrigation to prepare for the upcoming bloom. Systemic pesticide applications continue to promote healthier trees for better crop set. Spraying, both ground and air, continues for psyllid reduction as well as foliar application of nutritional materials to promote flowering. Varieties harvested include early, midseason, Navel, Temple, and small amounts of Valencia oranges; grapefruit; Sunburst and Honey tangerines; and tangelos.