Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending March 2, 2014.
Weather Summary: According to Florida’s Automated Weather Network (FAWN), five locations received one inch of rain or slightly more, the rest of the State received less than one inch of rain. Maximum temperatures ranged from the 70s to the 80s, with the highest temperature in Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) and Homestead (Miami-Dade County) at 87 degrees. The lowest temperatures in the State ranged from 26 degrees in Defuniak Springs (Walton County) to 58 degrees in Fort Lauderdale (Broward County).
Field Crops: Farmers in Walton County were preparing fields for corn. Several sugarcane mills in Palm Beach County were finishing their harvest.
Fruit and Vegetables: Dixie and Gilchrist County farmers were getting fields ready for planting melons. Manatee County farmers continued to plant tomatoes. Harvesting of cabbage continued in Flagler and Putnam counties and replanting of potatoes continued in these counties. Green beans, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, peppers, sweet corn, Asian vegetables, herbs, and Cuban sweet potatoes (boniatos) were being harvested in Miami-Dade County. Vegetables and fruits marketed in the State included beets, cabbage, collards, eggplant, kale, peppers, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, herbs, and a variety of specialty vegetables.
Citrus: Rain was widespread, but generally light in the citrus area this week. Lecanto (Citrus County) recorded the most precipitation with 1.37 inches. Balm (Hillsborough County) recorded the least with 0.06 inches of rainfall recorded. Daytime temperatures reached the low to mid 80s throughout the citrus growing area last week. As per the U.S. Drought Monitor, last updated February 25, 2014, no drought exists within the citrus growing area
Field workers reported small sizes on all varieties. Some growers were noticing various sizes in the same blocks, from slightly larger than golf ball size to larger than baseball size on oranges. Grove activity included harvesting on mostly early oranges and grapefruit, hedging and topping after harvest, care for new trees, and pulling out declining or dead trees. Bloom has been noted in several of the more southern areas of the citrus growing region, signaling the beginning of next year’s crop.
Growers in the Indian River area are experimenting with tenting young trees to eradicate or control the psyllid population that is causing greening. Other methods are being used or tested to keep unaffected trees from getting the Huanglongbing (HLB, Citrus Greening) virus.
Sixteen of nineteen processing plants had opened this season. Almost all packing houses had opened and were shipping fruit.
Livestock and Pastures: Pasture quality has been aided by warmer temperatures and soil moisture. Calving continues throughout the State. The cattle condition for the State was good but the pasture condition was mostly fair. Cattlemen were feeding hay across the State.