The Week in Florida Agriculture
May 5-11, 2008
Peanut planting is continuing with 44 percent completed compared to 21 percent this time last year. Several acres of cotton were replanted due to inadequate moisture at planting. Some damage to the crop from sandblasting was also reported. Squash harvest is under way and tomato harvest is expected to begin soon. Strawberry harvest is in seasonal decline in Starke. Potato harvest continues. Watermelon crop is beginning to set fruit. Most crops look good in Suwannee Valley and Big Bend areas. Harvesting of peppers decreasing in Pompano. Quality and quantity of eggplant are good. Seafood: Commercial fishery for tilefish in the Gulf of Mexico is closed, effective 12:01 a.m. May 10, 2008, and will re-open 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2009. Commercial fishery for deep water grouper (misty, snowy, yellowedge, Warsaw or speckled hind) in the Gulf of Mexico is closed, effective 12:01 a.m. May 10, 2008, and will re-open 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2009. Vegetables: Vegetables being marketed are beans, blueberries, cabbage, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peppers, radishes, squash, and tomatoes. Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle and northern areas, pasture condition is mainly in poor condition due to drought. High winds and high temperatures are increasing the impact from the drought. The condition of cattle is mostly fair to good. In central areas, pasture condition is mainly in fair condition. Cattle condition is poor to good. In the southwestern areas, pasture is very poor to good. Statewide, cattle condition is very poor to good. Drought Update: Warm temperatures and little to no rain reported. Areas of DeSoto, Levy, Marion, Osceola, Glades, and Collier counties received less than a quarter-inch. St. Lucie, Dade, and Highlands counties averaged 0.95, 0.44 and 0.66 inch of rain, respectively. The watermelon crop is being negatively impacted in the southern Peninsula, Fort Myers and Immokalee by disease and lack of rain. In the Panhandle and northern areas high winds and high temperatures are increasing the impact from the drought. Citrus: The weather was warm and mild across the state during the week with one or two days of rainfall reported in citrus-producing areas. Overall, citrus groves look good with heavy foliage and healthy looking new fruit. Some trees are showing slight afternoon wilt during the hottest hours of the day; however, most growers are running heavy irrigation. Production activities include hedging, topping, spraying, mowing, brush removal, and resetting. Growers are combating greening by removing trees and attempting to control the Psyllids with pesticides. Harvest of Valencias is past the halfway mark. Processing plants plan to be open into July and expect to process 6 million boxes a week. Grapefruit harvesting declining due to limited availability and is expected to be completed within one to two weeks. Honey tangerine harvest dropped below 100,000 boxes during this week for the first time since mid-January.