The Week in Florida Agriculture
March 24-30, 2008
Peanut planting is under way. Growers are beginning to plant cucumbers. Onions are being harvested. In Starke, the strawberry harvest is at its peak. Palatka’s potato crop planted in January is in full bloom. Harvesting of cabbage, collards and broccoli continues. In Plant City, the strawberry harvest is beginning to wind down. Cucumbers continue to be replanted in Fort Pierce. Vegetables: Celery, sweet corn, eggplant, endive, escarole, radishes and tomatoes are being marketed. Adverse Weather Damage: Wauchula, Trenton, and Suwannee Valley reported wind damage to potatoes and watermelons. Hardee County cucumbers sustained damage from Easter wind chill; minor damage to watermelons, tomatoes and squash was reported. Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle and northern areas, pasture condition has been negatively affected first by freezing temperatures and then by dry, windy, unseasonably warm conditions. Warm season perennial grass is doing better but cool season forage growth is depressed. In central areas, pasture condition is very poor to good, with most in poor condition. In the southwestern areas, pasture is very poor to excellent, with most fair. Statewide, the cattle condition is very poor to good, with most in fair condition. Drought Update: More than two inches of rain fell in Alachua County and more than half an inch in Hardee and Hillsborough counties. The lack of rain, combined with strong winds, dried out topsoil in Okaloosa County. Soil moisture is mostly short to adequate in the Panhandle and central peninsula, very short in the Big Bend, and short in the southern peninsula. In Hendry County, rains over the Easter weekend greatly aided the spring pasture growth and resulted in standing water in places. Lake Okeechobee level is at 10.25 feet. Citrus: Rainfall in citrus-producing areas ranged from three quarters of an inch in Ona to no rainfall in Lake Alfred and Immokalee. The rainfall has been helpful for the spring flush of new growth and bloom. Grove maintenance is in full swing with spraying, mowing, hedging, topping and fertilizing taking place. New growth flush with a uniform bloom on both oranges and grapefruit is reported. Sizes on grapefruit are been relatively small and pack-out amounts are declining. Fresh export sales for both grapefruit and tangerines are slowing. Varieties being harvested include early, midseason, and Temple oranges, and increasing amounts of Valencia oranges, grapefruit, and Honey tangerines. Fort Myers continues harvesting collards, peppers, cabbage and squash. Harvesting of beans, corn, squash and tomatoes continues in Florida City.