Florida: Dryland Crops Stressed – USDA

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    Weather Summary: According to Florida’s Automated Weather Network (FAWN), rainfall ranged from no rainfall in five FAWN locations to 5.77 inches at Wellington (W. Palm Beach County). Per the U.S. Drought Monitor, Florida was 70 percent drought free the week of September 14-21, 2015.

    Temperatures ranged from 51 degrees for night time lows to 94 degrees for daytime highs. The daytime high temperatures ranged from 89 in Putnam Hall (Putnam County) and Hastings (St. Johns County) to 94 degrees in Sebring (Highlands County), Fort Lauderdale (Broward County), and Marianna (Jackson County). The lowest temperature in the State was 51 degrees in Monticello (Jefferson County).

    Field Crops: There was an average of 5.7 days suitable for field work this past week, down slightly from the previous week. Washington, Levy, and Columbia counties continued harvesting peanuts this past week. In Washington County, all dryland crops were stressed due to lack of rain.

    Haying was not possible due to rain in Flagler, Suwannee, Orange, Seminole, and Putnam counties. Some cotton in Walton County has been defoliated in preparation for harvest. Flagler and Putnam county farmers continued to harvest corn. Sugarcane harvest will soon begin in St. Lucie County.

    Fruit and Vegetables: Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties experienced a wet, rainy week. Frequent showers and thunderstorms affected most locations interfering with land preparations and disrupting vegetable planting schedules. Vegetable farmers continued to operate throw out pumps to manage water levels.

    Farmers in Palm Beach County planted herbs, lettuce, radish, sweet corn, beans, cabbage, tomato, and peppers. Cabbage planting started in Flagler and Putnam counties. Miami-Dade County farmers continued irrigating crops but is behind schedule. Crops being planted in Miami-Dade County were okra, boniato, malanga, and bitter melon. Miami-Dade County farmers were harvesting okra, boniato, malanga, bitter melon, mango, avocado, and other tropical fruits.

    Livestock and Pastures: Growth in pastures in Okeechobee and Saint Lucie counties slowed due to recent rains. Statewide, the cattle and pasture condition was mostly good.

    Citrus: Temperatures were typical for this time in the year, reaching the mid to upper 80s on most days and into the low 90s on some days in all citrus producing counties. Rainfall was scattered across the citrus producing region. The heaviest rains fell in the Indian River District this past week.

    Vero Beach (Indian River County) had 5.23 inches; St Lucie West (St. Lucie County) had 3.93 inches. In the southern area, Immokalee (Collier County) had the most rainfall at 4.12 inches, and in the central area, the most rain was in Kenansville (Osceola County) at 1.08 inches. As per the U.S. Drought Monitor, last updated September 21, 2015, the complete citrus producing region is drought free.

    Canals and ditches are at normal levels in most citrus producing areas. Trees and fruit look good in well cared for groves. Early oranges are as large as baseball size, while grapefruit are running as large as softball size. Fallglo tangerines and red grapefruit have begun to break color in most areas.

    No harvest of early tangerines has yet been observed. Grove activity is very busy with caretakers spraying for greening, fertilizing, and mowing. Growers are irrigating to keep moisture in the ground and on the trees.


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