The Week in Florida Agriculture
February 9-15, 2009
Producers are delaying planting until April due to recent freezes. Ample rain is relieving pressure on cattle ponds and winter forage. Winter forage is in full production so some cattle are improving. However, not every ranch has winter grazing. Forage is still limited by drought. Pine tree planting continues. Small grains in the fields look good. Growers are working to finish potato planting. Earlier plantings received minor freeze damage. Cabbage harvesting continues with some outer leaf damage. Watermelon fields are in final preparation. Producers in Plant City report strawberries in fair to good condition with heavy movement through the market. Tomatoes are being replanted in some areas; planting is being delayed in others. Growers harvesting peppers and greens. Sugarcane crop suffered freeze damage. Several counties in the southern Peninsula reported significant damage to the vegetable crops. Immokalee growers are replanting for the spring crop. Harvesting and packing has slowed due to cool temperatures. Tomatoes and beans are being harvested. Seafood: Supplies of most species are ample, but demand is down. Tilefish are plentiful and deep water grouper (misty, snowy, yellowedge, Warsaw and speckled hind) are in good supply. Vegetables: Most growers report minor damage to vegetables in the field. Celery, sweet corn, eggplant, endive, escarole, lettuce radishes, and squash are being marketed. Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle area, pasture condition is very poor to good. Pasture is short due to cold and lack of rain. Cattle condition is poor to excellent. In the northern areas, cool-season forages are growing but are being grazed heavily and need rain to help maintain stands. Supplemental hay feeding is active. In the central areas, pasture condition is very poor to good with most very poor to poor due to drought and cold. Hay supplies are very low. Cattle condition is very poor to good with most in fair condition. In the southwestern areas, the pasture is very poor to good with most poor to fair. Warm weather has brought some green back to pastures. The condition of the cattle in the southwest is very poor to excellent. Statewide, cattle condition is very poor to excellent with most fair to good. Citrus: Typical, seasonal weather patterns have returned to citrus-producing areas with little rain and mild winds. Daily high temperatures are slightly above average reaching the upper 70s to lower 80s on most days, with occasional readings as high as 86 degrees. Citrus growers have implemented normal irrigating, fertilizing, and hedging programs, along with harvesting. Trees appear to be healthy in well-tended groves. New bloom and growth has not been seen thus far. Overall, damage from the cold snaps last month and earlier this month seems to be minimal. Higher droppage and earlier maturity is noted in some groves, but juice yields seem to be unaffected in most areas. The primary citrus fruits being harvested for processing are early and midseason oranges and grapefruit. Some processing plants are taking limited amounts of tangelos. Honey tangerines, Valencia, Navels, and Temples are being picked in small quantities, primarily for the fresh market.