The Week in Florida Agriculture
September 29 - October 5, 2008
Peanut condition is rated 27 percent fair, 62 percent good, and 11 percent excellent. Peanut digging is 56 percent complete, compared with 36 percent this time last year, and a five-year average progress of 44 percent. Some peanut fields are too dry to harvest. Cotton and soybean harvesting has begun in a few counties, with most growers expecting good crops. A few growers reported early leaf loss due to Asian soybean rust. Early pecans were dropping and trees were holding their foliage. Vegetable Harvest Forecast: Snap beans: 8,500 acres to be harvested compared to 10,300 acres harvested in 2007. Cabbage: growers expect to harvest 1,200 acres, compared to 900 acres harvested last year. Sweet corn: growers expect to harvest 5,500 acres compared to 4,200 acres harvested last year. Cucumbers: growers expect to pick 3,300 acres compared to 3,200 acres harvested last year. Bell peppers: producers expect to harvest 3,700 acres this fall, down from last year’s 4,400 acres. Tomatoes: producers hope to pick 7,500 acres, from last year’s 7,400 acres harvested. Okra, cucumbers, avocadoes and tomatoes were marketed this week. Livestock and Pastures: Forage conditions have declined due to cooler weather and drought. In the Panhandle and northern areas, pastures are in fair condition. Preparation of fields for winter small grain forage is under way, but generally has been delayed by dry soil conditions. Forage growth has been hampered by drought, with rainfall in September several inches short of normal. Summer grass growth has slowed due to nighttime temperatures below 50 degrees. However, shorter days and cooler temperatures have reduced drought stress. Cattle are being fed supplemental hay where pastures are poor or very poor. Cattle condition is mainly good. In the central and southwest areas, pastures are fair to good, and cattle condition is good. Statewide, cattle condition is mainly good. Citrus: Citrus-producing areas are experiencing ideal weather for this time of year. Mid-afternoon showers in Immokalee brought nearly 2 inches of rainfall for the week. Sebring and Fort Pierce had almost 1 1/2 inches of rainfall. Trees are generally in good condition in well-cared-for groves. Fruit sizes are good, with oranges as large as baseballs and grapefruit slightly larger. Maturity levels are reported as good for all varieties. Grove owners are busy irrigating, mowing middles, pulling vines, cleaning groves, and getting ready for harvesting. Most owners are having workers scout for greening and spraying affected areas to reduce the psyllid population. About one-half of the packinghouses are open and have begun shipping fruit. Only two processing plants are running fruit in small quantities. Varieties being packed include early oranges (Navels, Ambersweet, and Hamlins), white and colored grapefruit, and Fallglo tangerines.