The Week in Florida Agriculture
March 10-16, 2008
Hay is reported in very short supply. Some growers have decided not to plant cotton or corn due to the high cost of fuel and fertilizer. Direct seeded watermelon planting is under way. Recent wet weather has negatively impacted the winter wheat crop, especially some that was planted late. Some growers are considering planting soybeans after wheat, but there is a shortage of seed reported. The potato crop is in good condition. Some freeze damage was reported for blueberries, watermelons and squash. Vegetables: Producers are marketing snap beans, cabbage, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, okra, peppers, radishes, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle and northern areas, most pasture condition is reported as fair. Warmer weather is needed to spur grass growth. The small-grain winter grazing is in rapid decline, while hay is in very short supply. Pastures remain barely adequate to meet grazing demands. The condition of the cattle is mostly fair. In the central areas, most pasture condition in reported as poor, although pastures have greatly improved with recent rains. Cattle condition is fair to good. In the southwestern areas, most pasture is in fair to good condition. Statewide, cattle condition is fair to good. Drought Update: Rain was recorded in the citrus-growing counties of Hillsborough, Hardee and Polk with .45, .41 and .36 inches of rain, respectively. However, most other areas of the peninsula received very little measurable rain. The danger for wildfire remains for some areas. Lake Okeechobee level rose to 10.16 feet. Citrus: Excellent new growth flush is being reported with full, open bloom on orange trees. Grapefruit and tangerine varieties are slower to bloom and show expanding to opening buds in most areas. Varieties being harvested include declining amounts of early, midseason, Navel, and Temple oranges, and increasing amounts of Valencia oranges. Harvest remains steady for grapefruit and Honey tangerines. Tangelo harvest is nearing completion.