The Week in Florida Agriculture
April 13-19, 2009
Many growers in the Big Bend and Panhandle are still preparing fields for row crops, while some have started planting corn, tobacco and peanuts. Most areas are dry enough to continue field work, but heavy rain has delayed work in a few areas. Some minor flooding remains in low areas of the Panhandle. Strawberry harvest continues. Last week’s frost killed about 15 percent of the squash crop. Beans, peppers and tomatoes suffered some frost damage. Potatoes are in good condition. Potato harvest remains active. Digging is under way in Hastings area. In Palatka there were row washouts in some potato fields due to heavy rain. Strawberry harvest continues. Strawberry harvest has ended. Blueberries experienced severe frost damage. Growers began cutting watermelons in the southern peninsula. Tomato, sweet corn, bean and squash harvest is concluding. Forestry: Many schools, churches, civic organizations and local governments across the state are planting trees to celebrate Earth Day and National Arbor Day. Vegetables: Vegetables marketed include blueberries, snap beans, cabbage, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, collard greens, peppers, radishes, squash, tomatoes, and specialty items. Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle, pasture condition is poor to excellent following warm temperatures. Poor pasture condition is due to flooding in Washington and other counties. Cattle condition is poor to excellent. In the northern areas, pasture condition is fair. Cool-season pasture is seasonally finished. Permanent pasture suffered frost damage in Colombia County and cool nighttime temperatures have slowed forage growth. Flooding from recent heavy rain affected some pasture. Supplemental hay feeding is in progress where forage is short. In the central areas, pasture is very poor to good. Drought and drying winds hampering forage production. Cattle condition is very poor to good. Pasture condition in the southwest is mostly fair. Rainfall has somewhat improved most rangeland production yielding adequate forage for cattle to start putting on weight. However, some pasture shows damage from frost. Statewide, cattle condition is fair to good. Citrus: Several citrus-producing areas received needed rainfall from a front passing over the state on Tuesday. Rainfall totals are still well below normal for the year. The drought intensity has reached severe to extreme in some southern localities. Due to the dry conditions, trees range from poor in groves with less maintenance and little irrigation to good in well-tended groves. Next year’s fruit has progressed to about pea size across the state. Some of the newly formed fruit is falling off the trees as they adjust for the amount they can carry. Caretakers applied nutritional sprays to assist the trees in holding the fruit for the next season. The Valencia crop harvest increased to over 6 million boxes for the week. The Honey tangerine harvest is about over for the season after dropping to 5,000 boxes harvested. The grapefruit harvest remains fairly strong with the majority of both colored and white going processed.