The Week in Florida Agriculture
March 9-15, 2009
Corn is being planted. Land is being prepared for soybeans, cotton and peanuts. Preparation for spring planting continues. Corn is being planted. Land is being prepared fields for peanuts and sorghum. Land is being prepared for tobacco, peanuts and corn. Watermelon, peppers, tomatoes and sweet corn are being planted in irrigated fields. Hay supply is low; demand is high due to drought conditions. Cabbage harvest continues. Earlier-planted cabbage was plowed under and replaced with potatoes. Greens and cabbage are being harvested. Field is progressing rapidly pace. Small grains are doing well. Preparation for row crops is under way. Spring vegetables are being planted. Some pastures have been severely overgrazed. Tomatoes and peppers are being harvested. Sugarcane harvest is near completion. Salt problems in vegetables due to warm, dry field conditions. Forestry: The Division of Forestry (DOF) recently entered into a new agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The 2008 Farm Bill has expanded opportunities for agricultural landowners and forest landowners. DOF foresters are ready to provide technical assistance to landowners with forested lands or to plant forest acreage through various NRCS programs. Due to lack of rainfall avoid unnecessary outdoor burning and check with authorities to determine if there is a local burn ban in effect. Seafood: The black, gag and red grouper fishery in the Gulf reopened on March 15 and supplies should be plentiful. Escambia Bay is temporarily closed for the harvesting of oysters, clams and mussels due to water quality. Vegetables: Vegetable fields are being irrigated due to lack of moisture. Vegetables being marketed include beans, broccoli, celery, eggplant, endive and lettuce. Livestock and Pastures: Pasture condition throughout the state have declined due to drought and cool temperatures. In the Panhandle area, pasture condition is very poor to good. Drought and cold nighttime temperatures continue to be a problem in the western Panhandle. Small-grain forage is beginning to suffer because of dry weather. Pastures are greening up after the last cold snap. Cattle are being fed supplemental hay. Perennial grass has not yet emerged. Cattle condition is mostly fair to good. In the northern areas, pasture is very poor to good. Cool season grains are growing but dry soil is limiting forage yield. Some cool season forage is starting to reach full maturity. In the central areas, pastures are greening up but there is no moisture for growth. Stock pond water levels are low and some are dry. Ranchers are pumping water for their stock. Hay supplies are low and demand is high. Cattle are mostly poor or fair. Pasture in the southwest is in very poor to fair condition. Drought has decreased the pasture quality. Some pasture is being irrigated. Statewide, cattle are in fair condition. Citrus: A high-pressure system remained over the Peninsula for the week bringing low humidity, warm temperatures and “tinder dry” conditions. Some areas reported early morning patchy fog and smoke caused by scattered wildfires. Rainfall is scarce and drought conditions continue to worsen. New limb growth is reported on trees as they slowly begin to recover from late January and early February freezing temperatures. Fertilizing, aerial spraying, and hedging are the dominant activities in the well-tended groves while growers prepare for the return of citrus bloom. The Valencia harvest continues with packinghouses taking late oranges and cleaning up the remaining quantities of the early and midseason varieties. Processing of honey tangerines should be completed soon. White and colored grapefruit harvesting continues at a strong rate with many boxes remaining for harvesting.