The Week in Florida Agriculture
November 24-30, 2008
Growing conditions are good for small grains, clover, and ryegrass grown for grazing. Growing conditions are good for small grains. Mostly field crops have been harvested. Most cool-season forage has been planted and is emerging. Late cotton is being harvested. Strawberries are in good condition. Over 60 percent of cabbage has been planted. Frost damaged some pasture; however, light rain has been beneficial for winter wheat and rye pastures. Sweet corn harvest is expected to be completed soon. Sugarcane harvest continues. Forestry: Tree-planting operations have started and will continue as rainfall permits through March 2009. Seafood: Blue crab is still plentiful. Vegetables: Vegetables look good in the fields but frost conditions have slowed the growth of cabbage, squash, eggplants, and tomatoes. Beans, cucumbers, endive, escarole, okra, peppers and radishes are being marketed. Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle area, pasture condition is poor to good. The growth of forage is slow due to the cool, dry conditions. Some feeding of hay is necessary until winter graze is available in a few weeks. Cattle condition is mainly good. In the northern areas, pastures are mainly in poor condition as some pasture was again damaged by frost. There has been very slow development of cool-season forages due to dry soils. In the central area, pasture condition is very poor to good due to drought and cold temperatures. In Marion County, the permanent grass has gone dormant. Most cows have calved, and the condition of nursing cows is declining due to poor pastures. Supplemental hay is being fed. In the southwest area, pasture condition is mainly good. Overall pasture condition has deteriorated due to seasonal cool weather. Less fertilizer has been applied this fall due to its high cost. Statewide, cattle condition is mainly good. Citrus: Nominal rainfall gave way to quickly passing heavy thunderstorms Sunday that brought an inch of rainfall to the west coast and half an inch to the central area. Fresh fruit being harvested includes Navel and Ambersweet oranges, white and colored grapefruit, and Sunburst tangerines. Over half of the juice plants are open and are processing early oranges and fruit that has been eliminated by packinghouses. The remaining plants should be open by early December. Maturity levels are higher than average on most orange varieties. In some cases, thin skin and high ratios of overripe fruit are causing poor quality. Limited supplemental sprays and fertilizers are being applied 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.