The Week in Florida Agriculture
December 1-7, 2008
Wheat is being planted. Some broccoli and cabbage crops were damaged by frost. Some broccoli and cabbage crops were damaged by worms. Approximately 10 percent of the cotton crop remains to be picked. Elsewhere most cotton harvesting is complete. Cabbage is about 70 percent planted. The heaviest frost of the season was reported. Tomato harvest is under way. Cold weather is delaying the harvest of some vegetables. Heavy rain caused some pasture flooding. Seafood: Florida grouper is in good supply. Vegetables: Vegetables being marketed include snap beans, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, radishes and squash. Light volumes of endive, escarole, okra and strawberries are also moving through the market. Avocados are still being marketed, but shipments have declined seasonally. Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle area, pasture condition is mainly poor. Recent rains helped winter (small grain) pasture, but freezing temperatures damaged most pasture. The decrease in available forage due to frosts has forced cattlemen to feed hay. Cattle condition ranges from poor to excellent. In the northern area, the condition of pasture is poor to fair with cold and drought hurting forage. Light rain helped small grain forage establishment. Freezing and near-freezing temperatures continue to reduce any remaining permanent pasture forage. Cattlemen are feeding supplemental hay and minerals. In the central area, pasture condition is very poor to excellent. Light rain helped the grass, but grass growth was set back by the heaviest frost of the season. Cattle condition is poor to good. In the southwest area, pasture condition was mostly poor. Frost, continued cool temperatures, and short soil moisture have suppressed pasture grass growth. Statewide, cattle condition is in fair to good condition. Citrus: Another round of cool weather dropped lows to the upper 30s throughout the citrus-producing area. Although not the coldest temperatures of the season, averages were several degrees below normal for the week. Rainfall was limited to a quarter of an inch or less in all citrus-producing areas. Most caretakers continue to irrigate in order to maintain adequate surface moisture levels. Processing picked up rapidly this week, with all plants open and receiving fruit and most running at or near full capacity. Growers report high maturity levels on early and midseason oranges being taken to the plants. Fresh fruit demand has been down slightly, but is picking up with the holiday season. Excellent grapefruit quality reported. Fresh fruit harvested includes Hamlin and Navel oranges, white and colored grapefruit, Sunburst tangerines, and a small amount of tangelos. Other than harvesting, grove activity includes cleaning up groves in preparation for harvesting, some fertilizing, and a small amount of hedging.