Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending April 13, 2014.
Weather Summary: According to Florida’s Automated Weather Network (FAWN), the majority of the State received less than an inch of rain. Eleven locations received between one and four inches of rain. Live Oak (Suwannee County) received the most rain with 4.6 inches. Maximum temperatures ranged from 77 to 93 degrees, with the highest temperature in Sebring (Highlands County) with 93 degrees. The lowest temperatures in the State ranged from 41 degrees in DeFuniak Springs (Walton County) to 64 degrees in Fort Lauderdale (Broward County).
Field Crop: In the Panhandle various activities occurred this past week. Some areas continued to prepare land for planting as fields began to dry. Field corn planting began in Jackson and Walton counties. In north Florida, Dixie County farmers continued planting field corn and peanuts. In Palm Beach County, sugarcane harvest was nearing its completion and rice is being planted.
Fruit and Vegetables: Watermelon planting began in Jackson County and was finished in Dixie County. Flagler and Putnam county farmers were harvesting cabbage and leafy greens. Blueberry and watermelon harvest was increasing in Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry counties. Crops being planted in Miami-Dade County were okra and boniato. Miami-Dade County farmers were harvesting boniato, green beans, malanga, yellow squash, sweet corn, and zucchini. Vegetables coming to market in the southwest were beets, blueberries, cabbage, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, lettuce, kale, peppers, potatoes, snap beans, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelons, and specialty items.
Citrus: All monitored stations in the citrus region received rainfall this past week. The most was in Dade City (Pasco County), at just over an inch; the least was in Okahumpka (Lake County), at under a quarter of an inch. Daytime temperatures were warm, reaching the upper 80s to lower 90s in all citrus producing counties. As per the U.S. Drought Monitor, last updated April 8, 2014, no drought exists within the citrus growing area.
Even with rainfall over the last several weeks, due to the heat, greening, and chemical spraying, some defoliation has been observed in trees in the southern counties. The bloom is relatively over and small pea size fruit is apparent in most areas. Some growers are reporting a good fruit set for next season’s crop.
Owners were pushing dead or declining blocks and replanting in several areas across the citrus region. Hedging and topping have been steady and many growers had completed or were finishing up for this time of year.
Processing plants are primarily running Valencia oranges with a few running grapefruit. Several packinghouses have finished for the season; some have transitioned to gift fruit packing only.
Livestock and Pastures: Pastures remain wet in the Panhandle. Rain in March has kept the pastures in the southwest in favorable condition. The cattle condition for the State was primarily good but the pasture condition was mostly fair.