The Week in Florida Agriculture
October 27 - November 2, 2008
Peanut digging is 90 percent complete, compared with 87 percent this time last year, and a five-year average progress of 92 percent. Cotton harvest continues, with less than half of the cotton remaining in the fields. Soybeans cutting has begun. Winter forage is being planted. Cabbage planting is slowing. Land is being prepared for planting potatoes. A significant amount of eggplant and snap bean crops was lost due to a heavy freeze. Heavy frost and dry temperatures caused loss of 20 percent of pasture. Strawberries and onions are being planted. Rye coming up in fields. Little damage from frost reported. Cold front slowed forage growth. Sugarcane harvest is beginning in some areas. Forestry: Longleaf pine cone crop is abundant this year. Longleaf pine produce larger quantities of seed every three to seven years. This is the first abundant seed season since 2003. Cone harvesting wraps up in November. Vegetables: Cucumbers, okra, squash, and avocados are moving through the market. Light volumes of snap beans, tomatoes, and eggplant were also being marketed. Seafood: The commercial season for Florida tilefish and deepwater grouper is open only until November 10, and the wholesalers are reporting a good supply. Livestock and Pastures: Early frost in the Panhandle, Big Bend, and central Peninsula caused browning in some pastures. Wet soils in the east-central part of the state are preventing cattle from returning to the fields. Low protein levels are reported in areas of Orange and Seminole counties. Overall, cattle are mostly in fair to good condition. Citrus: Cool weather early in the week was welcomed, but had little to no impact on Florida citrus. On Wednesday, several areas dropped to the upper 30s at night, warming only to the mid-60s during the afternoon. Rainfall was very light for the week across the citrus belt. The quantity and quality of fruit continues to be reported good in all areas with good ratios, especially on oranges. Few caretakers are resetting groves at this time, due to the availability of trees. Most grove owners are irrigating due to the drier weather. Other grove activity includes limited harvesting, herbiciding, and mowing. Scouting for greening and removal of affected trees is common primarily in the southern citrus-growing region where the disease is most widespread. About 40 major packinghouses are open and are shipping fruit. Varieties being packed include early oranges (Navels, Ambersweet, and Hamlin), white and colored grapefruit, and early tangerines (Fallglo and Sunburst). Processing is still very limited at this time, with only five houses open and two to three more planning to open in the next week.