Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending January 19, 2014.
Weather Summary: The majority of the State reported one inch or below of rain this week, with the exception of MacClenny (Baker County) with 1.82 inches, according to Florida’s Automated Weather Network (FAWN). Maximum temperatures ranged from the 60s to the 80s, with the highest temperature in Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) at 84 degrees. Hard freezes were felt in the Panhandle and north Florida. The lowest temperatures in the State were 23 degrees in Defuniak Springs (Walton County) and 24 degrees in Jay (Santa Rosa County).
Field Crops: Farmers in the Panhandle were planting winter cover crops. Rain was beneficial to earlier plantings. Sugarcane harvest proceeded as scheduled in Hendry, Palm Beach, and Glades counties.
Fruit and Vegetables: Potatoes were being planted in Saint Johns County. Cabbage was harvested in Okeechobee County. Some losses on vegetables and strawberries were reported in Bradford County due to frost and cold temperatures. The southern part of the State, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee Counties, reported some damage in colder areas with frosted tops on plants. Vegetables and fruits marketed in the State included avocados, beets, cucumbers, cabbage, escarole, mustard, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, eggplant, squash, strawberries, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, snap beans, radishes, lettuce, kale, and a variety of specialty items.
Citrus: Rain was light in most of the citrus area this week. All but one station recorded at least a trace of precipitation. Five stations recorded a half inch or more. Putnam Hall (Putnam County) recorded the most precipitation with 1.33 inches. Indian River (Indian River County) recorded the least with no rainfall measured. High temperatures were in the lower 70s to lower 80s through most of the citrus growing area.
Growers and caretakers continued to irrigate due to dry conditions. As per the U.S. Drought Monitor, last updated January 14, 2014, abnormally dry conditions cover most of the southern growing areas and portions of the northern, central, and Indian River areas. The western growing area and the southern portion of the Indian River area remain drought free. The majority of the active commercial citrus groves in the State are drought free.
Field workers reported small sizes on all varieties. Grove activity included harvesting, hedging and topping after harvest, resetting of new trees, pushing of dead groves and replanting new citrus, mowing, fertilizing and psyllid control. Thirty-nine of 43 packinghouses had opened and had begun shipping small quantities of fruit. Fifteen of nineteen processing plants were open.
Livestock and Pastures: The cattle condition for the State was fair to good as was the pasture condition. Cattlemen were feeding hay and supplements across the State. Cold weather and frost throughout the State contributed to pasture decline. Drought was the main contributing factor for the poor pasture condition in the central and southern parts of the State.