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Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, M-9
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
(850) 617-7300

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner

The Week in Florida Agriculture

January 12-18, 2009

This Week In Florida Agriculture

Cool season grains making slow progress due to dry conditions. Some growers making preparations for spring crops. Sufficient growth of winter forage to begin grazing. Harvesting of leafy greens was heavy early in the week due to the predicted midweek freeze. Cool temperatures have caused some leaf burn on the cabbage crop. Pine tree planting remains active. Growers irrigated blueberries to protect against cold temperatures. Farmers preparing land for spring melons and should begin planting next week. Late blight was a concern among the potato and tomato crops. Executive Order: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson requested that the governor issue an executive order when it became apparent that a severe and potentially crop-damaging cold front was headed for Florida. The Governorís Executive Order was issued on January 14 and directs the state Department of Transportation to relax the weight, height, length and width restrictions for commercial vehicles transporting vulnerable crops to processing sites. The executive order remains in effect for 14 days. Vegetables: Vegetables being marketed include beans, broccoli, cabbage, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, lettuce, peppers, radishes, squash, strawberries and tomatoes. Livestock and Pastures: The pasture condition throughout the state is very poor to good as some pastures were hurt by cold and drought. In the Panhandle and northern areas, pasture condition is in poor condition. Winter forage (small grains) are in fair condition, set back by cold weather. Permanent pasture grass (Bahia) greened up during the past couple of weeks. In the northern areas, about a third of the cool season forage pastures have just reached sufficient growth to start grazing. The cattle condition is fair to good. In the central areas, pasture condition is mostly fair. Ryegrass pasture is in poor condition because of drought. Cattle are being fed supplemental hay. Cold weather has slowed forage growth. In the southwestern areas, pasture is mostly in good condition. Hay and supplement are being fed. Pasture in some locations is still suffering from flooding from Tropical Storm Fay. Statewide, cattle condition is mainly fair to good. Citrus: Midweek, a series of northern cold fronts pushed southward to the upper part of the citrus-producing region, dropping temperatures by several degrees. The coldest temperatures were on Saturday morning when lows dropped to the mid-30s in Apopka and Lake Alfred. With weekly rain totals still below average, abnormally dry drought conditions continue to cover most of the citrus region. Citrus growers are irrigating heavily, fertilizing, and mowing for picking crews. Hedging and topping of grapefruit is being conducted on the East Coast after harvest. Early and midseason harvesting passed the halfway mark. Processing plants continue to run early-midseason oranges at full capacity with Valencia oranges still a couple weeks away from being ready. Sunburst tangerine harvest slowed, with less than 50,000 boxes utilized during the week. Grapefruit are being picked at a rate of over 700,000 boxes per week with the majority of the fresh fruit being picked for the export market. Honey tangerine harvest is getting under way.

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