The Week in Florida Agriculture
November 17-23, 2008
Nearly all peanuts have been harvested for the season. In the Panhandle winter grains have emerged but need rain. Hay is in short supply. Recent cold temperatures put nursery crops into dormancy, which is the desired condition for this part of the growing season. Broccoli and cabbage are being planted. The production of cucumbers, melons and squash slowed due to cold weather. Tomatoes are being harvested. Producers are preparing land for watermelons. Sugarcane harvest continues. Producers are irrigating their recently planted greens and turnips. Seafood: Wholesalers are reporting Florida red grouper is plentiful and should remain so for a week or two. Vegetables: Soybeans, cotton and corn are approximately 90 percent harvested. Other vegetables marketed are snap beans, sweet corn, eggplant, okra, peppers and avocados. Livestock and Pastures: Below-freezing temperature slowed or stopped forage growth. Late-planted small grain winter forage is emerging. Fertilizing of winter forage is delayed until farmers can ascertain grain prices; then they will decide whether to fertilize the grain for harvest or leave it as a cover crop. Supplemental hay feeding is active. In the Panhandle and northern areas, pasture is mainly in poor condition. Winter forage needs rain, but its condition is also poor due to lack of fertilizer. Cattle is mainly in fair condition. In the central area, pasture is mainly in poor condition due to drought and cold. Permanent pasture is not growing and the nutritional value of grass is declining. Cattle are being fed supplemental hay, which is a month earlier than normal. In the southwest areas, pasture is mostly in good condition. Statewide, cattle is mainly in good condition. Citrus: Temperatures this week were the coolest of the new citrus season. No rainfall was reported in any of the citrus-producing counties. New tree growth has slowed due to cooler nighttime temperatures and decreased rainfall. Surface soil moisture is getting short in most areas, prompting growers to irrigate to prevent wilt and also to help maintain good fruit sizes at harvest. New crop fruit continues to show excellent on-tree color. Maturity levels are running ahead of last season. Fresh fruit harvesting crews are actively moving Navels and finishing Ambersweet oranges. White and colored grapefruit and Sunburst tangerines are also being taken to the packinghouses. Hamlin and other early oranges are being harvested mostly for processing. About half of the juice plants are open and running mostly early oranges and receiving packinghouse eliminations. Caretakers continue to apply supplemental sprays and fertilizers to the trees. Other activities include limited mowing and general grove maintenance. Cutting down trees infected with greening is part of the regular grove management.