The Week in Florida Agriculture
May 11-17, 2009
Peanut planting is 40 percent complete. Very dry conditions are preventing tilling and planting. Small grain combining is under way. Carrots and tomatoes have been planted. Snap bean crop is being harvested. Potato harvest continues. Winter wheat harvest has been delayed by rain. Small quantities of strawberries and squash are being harvested. Sweet corn harvest continues. Blueberry harvest is nearing completion. Potatoes quality may be affected by recent heavy rains. Pickle cucumbers harvest continues. Watermelon harvest continues. Blueberry harvest is nearing completion. The market for sweet corn is poor and significant acreage remains unsold. Many fields being irrigated to relieve drought stress, especially in the southern Peninsula. Seafood: Flounder, blue crab, red grouper and red snapper are plentiful. Vegetables: Cantaloupe, cabbage, celery, cucumber, eggplant, endive, escarole, okra, peppers, radishes, squash, tomatoes, and specialty items are being marketed. Livestock and Pastures: Pasture and cattle condition has improved slightly from the previous week. In the Panhandle pasture condition is poor to excellent with most fair to good. Hay is being fed. Cattle condition is poor to excellent with most in good condition. Cattle are experiencing heat stress. In the northern areas, pasture is in very poor to excellent condition with most poor to fair due to drought. In the central areas, pasture is in very poor to good condition with most very poor to poor due to extreme drought. Supplemental hay feeding is active and hay supplies are short. Pasture condition in the southwest is very poor to good with most poor to fair. Pasture condition improved in many places with grass greening and beginning to grow. Statewide, cattle condition is very poor to excellent with most fair to good. Citrus: Temperatures ranged from the 60s at night to the low 90s during the day. Many citrus-producing areas received isolated showers three or four days during the week. Sebring had the most reported precipitation with 4 inches; Fort Pierce is very dry and received less than one-tenth of an inch. Even with the recent rainfall, drought conditions continue in all citrus-growing regions. Most areas report that crops are in good condition due to regular irrigation and maintenance. Valencia processing maintained the 6 million box level and should continue at this level into June, based on availability of fruit. A few packinghouses are open and receiving limited quantities of grapefruit and late oranges. Next year’s fruit is maturing at a good pace for both the early and late varieties of oranges. Field personnel report heavier fruit sets on young trees with good grove care. Caretakers are irrigating, spraying, and implementing normal production practices.