The Week in Florida Agriculture
April 6-12, 2009
Rains have alleviated drought conditions, excessively wet fields have delayed field work. Many fields will need to be reworked due to erosion. Cover crops being burnt down in preparation for planting peanuts and cotton. Some corn, snap beans and carrot crops are under water. Hay is being fed to cattle. Some vegetable planting is behind schedule due to dry and windy conditions. Corn is being planted. Hay being fed to cattle due to pasture flooding. Corn is coming up. Harvesting of potatoes continues. Blueberry harvest continues with some damage from birds. Dry, windy conditions decreased pasture grass growth. Ranchers irrigated some pasture. Sugarcane harvest ended for the season. Snap beans, sweet corn, eggplant, squash and tomatoes are being harvested. Seafood: Stone crab claws are plentiful. Vegetables: Last week’s cold front caused frost in some areas. Minor damage was reported to cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and peppers. Some spring vegetable planting continues. Many fields in the Big Bend remain flooded. South Florida experiencing warm, dry and windy conditions. Vegetables marketed include broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, escarole, endive, greens, peppers, radishes and strawberries. Livestock and Pastures: Dry, warm and windy conditions improved pasture condition in the very wet Panhandle and north Florida. The central and southwest areas remain very dry. In the Panhandle, pasture condition is poor to excellent. Cold and flooding hurt forage growth in some areas, but improved soil moisture for forage in other locations. Pastures improving daily, although frost burned back some Argentine Bahia pastures. There was some pasture flooding in several counties, especially along rivers. Cattle condition is mostly fair to good. In the northern areas, some pasture is poor due to flooding and cold temperatures. In the central areas, pasture is mostly very poor to fair. Cattle condition is very poor to good. Pasture condition in the southwest was very poor to good due to drought. Livestock are being given supplemental feed in many counties in the southwest. Statewide, cattle condition is mostly fair to good. Citrus: Most of the citrus region experienced windy conditions on Monday and Tuesday as a cold front moved through the area. Wind gusts over 40 mph were recorded on the east coast. Warmer temperatures returned with afternoon highs in the upper 80s the latter half of the week. The week passed with no significant rainfall in any of the citrus-producing region. The drought intensity is moderate to severe everywhere. Burn bans have been put in place on the east coast. Due to the dry conditions, trees range from poor in groves with less maintenance and little irrigation, to good in well-tended groves. The citrus bloom is over and trees are experiencing petal drop with small fruit forming on the trees. Nutritional sprays are being applied to assist the trees in holding the new fruit for the next season. Harvesting on early-midseason fruit is nearly complete. The Valencia crop harvest remains fairly strong with over 5 million boxes picked weekly. The Honey tangerine harvest continues with over 20,000 boxes harvested last week. The grapefruit harvest remains fairly strong with the majority of both colored and white going processed.