The Week in Florida Agriculture
December 29, 2008 - January 4, 2009
Because of mild conditions in the Panhandle during the winter, the aphid populations were not reduced. This has raised concerns about Barley Yellow Dwarf Mosaic virus in winter grains. Some fungus has been reported in areas that received excessive rainfall. The growth of winter forages and grains has slowed due to warm, dry conditions. Greens and cabbage continue to be irrigated and harvested. Cabbage and broccoli continue to be harvested with good quality. Wheat in the fields is in good condition. Oats for harvest are in good condition. The growth of winter forages and grains has slowed due to warm, dry conditions. Seafood: Tilefish are currently plentiful. Forestry: Florida Arbor Day is celebrated on the third Friday in January. This year Arbor Day occurs on Friday, January 16. Vegetables: Fifty-two different vegetables are being harvested, including beans, cucumbers, sweet corn, tomatoes, squash, peppers, celery, eggplant, endive, escarole, lettuce and strawberries. Light late blight was found in isolated areas among tomato and potato crops. Vegetable growers activity included planting, staking, spraying, and performing other cultural needs. The Florida Strawberry Growers Association is promoting the winter crop with its campaign, “Enjoy the Taste of Summer All Winter Long,” which will run through March. Livestock and Pastures: The pasture condition throughout the state is mostly fair to good. Drought, cold and frost have hurt forage growth. Warmer days have caused the permanent pasture to green up in many locations. In the Panhandle and northern areas, pasture is in very poor to good condition. In locations that received rain in the past couple weeks, cool season forages are doing well. Most warm season forage (permanent pasture) is dormant, but some is greening up following days of 80-degree temperatures. The warmth is helping the growth of small grain forage for grazing. Hay and protein supplement is being fed. The cattle condition is mostly fair to good. In the central areas, pasture is mostly poor. Pasture in some locations has greened up due to December’s warm weather, but growth is minimal due to drought and cold in most locations. Pastures with planted ryegrass are being grazed. The cattle condition is poor to fair. In the southwest areas, the pasture is mostly in fair condition. Due to fertilizer and fuel costs, growers did not plant the normal amount of winter ryegrass. Grasses are being depleted, depending on grazing pressure. Statewide, cattle condition is mainly fair to good. Citrus: Florida’s citrus-producing areas had another week of warm temperatures and very little rainfall. With no significant rainfall recorded since mid-December, trees are showing slight afternoon wilt and drought conditions are extending further into the citrus region. Growers continue to push trees affected with greening, irrigate, perform irrigation maintenance, and fertilize. Hedging and topping of grapefruit is being performed on the East Coast after harvest. The grapefruit picked for the fresh market is of very good quality this year following a cold snap in late November. Early and midseason orange harvesting slowed for the holidays but is picking up now that the new year has begun. Harvest of Sunburst tangerines has slowed and Honeys are being picked in very small quantities.