Florida: Panhandle Storms Slow Planting – USDA

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending April 19, 2015.

    Field Crops: There was an average of 5.6 days suitable for field work this past week, down from 6.5 days in the previous week. The Panhandle received large amounts of rain this past week. There were unofficial reports of 12 and 13 inches of rainfall in the Panhandle. Severe weather conditions have planting stopped until the ground dries out.

    In Leon County low areas in fields were flooded. Jackson County reported standing water and road closures throughout the county. Corn and cotton planting has been delayed due to wet conditions. Flagler, Putnam, and Dixie counties received less rain this past week and planting of corn continued. Insect issues in hayfields in Pasco County started.

    Weather Summary: According to Florida’s Automated Weather Network (FAWN), rainfall ranged from no rain to 6.07 inches across the State. Marianna (Jackson County) received the most rain with 6.07 inches and Jay (Santa Rosa County) received 6.02 inches. Per the U.S. Drought Monitor, Florida was 68 percent drought free this past week.

    Temperatures ranged from 62 degrees for night time lows to 94 degrees for day time highs, across the State. The highest temperature was 94 degrees in Sebring (Highlands County) and Lake Alfred (Polk County). The lowest temperature in the State was 62 degrees in Defuniak Springs (Walton County).

    Fruit and Vegetables: Leafy greens were harvested, watermelon planting completed, and potatoes were dug in Flagler and Putnam counties this past week. Southwest Florida received widely scattered showers several days this past week.

    Blueberry harvest was in full swing in Charlotte County and harvesting of peaches in Charlotte County slowed. Vegetable growers harvested beans, beets, cantaloupes, collards, cucumbers, herbs, kale, peppers, squash, tomatoes, and an increasing volume of watermelons. Miami-Dade County farmers marketed strawberries, sweet corn, and green beans. Harvesting and replanting of okra and sweet potatoes was on-going.

    Livestock and Pastures: In the Panhandle, pastures had standing water in low areas. In Flagler County, most cows have calved. Pasture quality in southwest Florida showed improvement in locations that received rain this past week. Statewide, the cattle condition was mostly good, while the winter forage and pasture condition was poor to good.

    Citrus: Daily high temperatures were about two to five degrees above average all week, reaching the high 80s to low 90s on most days. Minimum nighttime and early morning temperatures were mostly in the upper 60s and low 70s. All counties in the citrus growing region had some rain.

    The highest amounts were in Kenansville (Osceola County) and in Frostproof (Polk County), both at just over two inches. The least was in Lake Alfred (Polk County) at 0.19 inches. As per the U.S. Drought Monitor, last updated April 14, 2015, abnormally dry conditions cover Collier, Hendry, and Glades counties and the southern portion of Okeechobee and Martin counties.

    Valencia weekly preliminary utilization was over four million boxes for the first time this season, primarily for the processed market. Only Valencias and red grapefruit had a significant amount of fruit harvested for the fresh market. All the white grapefruit that was harvested went to processing plants. All other varieties were finished or winding up for the season.

    Most grove owners were still irrigating to keep water in the ground and on the tress; some were applying herbicide and mowing. Various stages of fruit for next season’s crop, from pea size and to marble size, were apparent on all varieties.

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