The Week in Florida Agriculture
September 8-14, 2008
Peanut condition is rated 29 percent fair, 55 percent good, and 16 percent excellent. Growers are continuing peanut harvesting and have begun digging. Florida’s harvested acreage is forecast at 133,000 acres. Yield is expected to be 3,100 pounds per acre and production is set at 412 million pounds. The cotton crop was damaged due to flooding. As of September 1, Florida growers expect to harvest 65,000 acres. Yield is forecast at 738 pounds per acre and production is expected to total 100,000 bales. Dry conditions have stressed the cotton crop. Pasture grass is growing some but the quality has declined. Corn is being harvested, and farmers are working to recover a few hundred acres damaged by Tropical Storm Fay. Cotton and soybean crops look good and some corn is being harvested. Disease, late harvest, and recent rains have delayed peanut progress. Peanut digging is 8 percent complete, compared with 9 percent this time last year and a five-year average progress of 11 percent. Hay baling is picking up now that fields are drying out. Squash is being planted. Pasture grass growth is slowing. Tomatoes are being planted. The crop was not affected by recent storms and looks good. Vegetable preparation is good and planting of tomatoes, peppers, snap beans and corn is under way. Sugarcane is near harvesting. Farmers are spraying the crop and expect average yields. Florida production for both sugar and seed is set at 15.8 million tons with an average yield at 39.4 tons per acre. Harvested acres are forecast to be 400,000. Seafood: Commercial fishermen report an excellent blue crab harvest that should last through the fall. Vegetables: Okra and avocados continue to be marketed. Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle area, pasture condition is mostly fair to good. The cattle condition is mostly good. In the northern areas, pasture is mostly good, and the range condition has improved. The cattle condition is mostly fair to excellent. In the central areas, pasture is in very poor to excellent condition, with most fair to good. Most of the cattle are in good condition. In the southwest areas, pasture condition is very poor to excellent. Statewide, cattle condition is poor to excellent, with most in good condition. Citrus: Hurricane Ike generated just over 2 1/2 inches of rain in the Immokalee area. Daily high temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s have been reported across the citrus belt. Most citrus-producing areas have gone back to general maintenance schedules to include mowing, fertilizing, herbiciding, tree removal, and preparing for harvest. Some drier areas were back on regular irrigating schedules. Only one packinghouse has opened, however several are planning on opening in the next two weeks. The citrus season overall is progressing well with good sizes on both oranges and grapefruit. Trees look good with heavy foliage and healthy looking fruit, and owners are optimistic about a good season. T.S. Fay Aftermath: Rainfall flooded many pastures and caused damage. Some damage from loopers and armyworms is reported. Standing water has halted some field work. Sod farms reporting substantial losses. Flooding in Nassau County damaged the cotton crop. Jackson County cotton growers report hard lock and boll rot. Citrus growers in the Indian River area are still dealing with the effects of standing water. Isolated groves have yellowing of leaves, dying trees, and additional small percentages of fruit drop. Limb breakage reported in the pecan groves and the corn harvest has been delayed until the moisture levels are lower.