The Week in Florida Agriculture
March 23-29, 2009
Carrots, snap beans and tomatoes are being planted. Dry conditions are delaying some melon planting. Recent rainfalls have lessened the need for irrigation of potato crop. Broccoli harvest is nearing completion. Cabbage harvest has good yields and fair quality. Heavy rains have brought fieldwork to a standstill with some flooding reported. The wheat crop may have suffered some damage from wind and hail. Blueberries are being harvested. Hay yields are low and quality is fair. Rust disease is affecting palms. Nurseries report good plant movement. Sweet potato planting is under way. Seafood: Golden tilefish are in good supply. North Bay Eastern (Area 1022) temporarily closed to shellfish harvesting as of sunset March 27. Vegetables: Winter vegetable harvest is wrapping up. Spring planting continues. Vegetables moving through the market include snap beans, cabbage, celery, sweet corn, eggplant, endive, escarole, greens, peppers, radishes, squash and tomatoes. Livestock and Pastures: Pasture condition is lower due to continued drought; supplemental hay feeding continues in all areas. In the Panhandle and northern areas, pasture condition is mostly poor to fair. Pastures have not performed up to growth potential due to conditions being either too cool or too dry. Summer perennial pasture and clover have started to grow following the last rain. Hay feeding picked up again due to drought-stressed forage growing conditions. Over half of the cattle are being fed supplemental hay due to the short pasture. Cattle condition is mostly fair to good. In the central areas, pasture condition is mostly poor. Pasture is starting to come back but grass is short due to drought and cool weather. Cattle condition is mostly poor to fair. Pasture condition in the southwest is mostly poor to fair. Light rain last week helped green up some pastures but drought is the limiting factor for forage growth. Statewide, cattle condition is very poor to excellent, spread fairly evenly from very poor to good. Citrus: Warm, seasonal temperatures continue across the citrus areas ranging from the low 50s at night to the high 80s during the day. Quick-moving thunderstorms for two days during the week brought almost an inch of rainfall to the central and western citrus-producing regions. Other areas received one-tenth inch to one-half inch of rainfall for the week. All areas still need more rain to offset the drought caused by several weeks of very dry conditions. Widespread spring citrus bloom is being observed. Fertilizing, pesticide application, and irrigation continues. Several packinghouses have finished or are planning to finish packing Honey tangerines in the next week or so. Early-midseason orange harvesting is nearly complete. Valencia orange harvesting picked up steadily over the past couple of weeks, but low and inconsistent ratios are reported. Grapefruit harvesting is under a million boxes weekly with the majority of white grapefruit being processed with equal amounts of red grapefruit going to processing and fresh.