Heavy rains damage Florida cotton

As of Nov. 1, cotton yield in Florida was forecast at 585 pounds per acre, 59 pounds or 9 percent below last month’s estimate of 644 pounds per acre, and 204 pounds or 26 percent below last year’s average of 789 pounds per acre.

Heavy rains over the western Panhandle during mid-November lowered yield prospects with a significant amount of cotton on the ground as of Nov. 1.

Growers expected to gin 100,000 480-pound bales. This was a decrease of 10,000 bales or 9 percent from the Oct. 1 forecast, and was down 66,000 bales or nearly 40 percent from last year. Acreage to be picked totaled 82,000 acres, equal to the earlier forecast.

Last year growers picked 101,000 acres.

Peanut yield, forecast at 2,500 pounds per acre, dropped 200 pounds per acre or 7 percent from the previous month’s forecast.

Producers reported some higher than expected yields from the late plantings due to timely rainfall. Last year, yield also averaged 2,500 pounds per acre. As of Nov. 1, growers expected production to total 287.5 million pounds, down 23 million pounds or 7 percent from the Oct. 1 estimate, and down 12.5 million pounds from last year’s 300 million pounds produced.

Producers expected to dig 115,000 acres, down 5,000 acres or 4 percent from last year’s acreage of 120,000 acres harvested. The warm weather during October aided the maturation of late plantings.

Scattered storms during the last half of the month allowed digging to gain momentum by loosening soils; however, the rainfall caused slight delays in combining as growers waited for the unearthed vines and nuts to dry.

Sugarcane yield for sugar and seed in Florida was set at 36.9 tons per acre, unchanged from last month. Last year, yield averaged 35.9 tons per acre. Production of sugar and seed calculated to 14,612,000 tons, up 266,000 tons or 2 percent from last year.

Acreage to be harvested was set at 396,000 acres, down 4,000 acres or 1 percent from a year ago. Harvest started during the first week of October.

As of Nov. 1, all mills were open. In Palm Beach County, wetland growth was reported as average. In Hendry County, the sandland harvest started by early October. Harvest progressed without any major delays during November. No immediate pest pressures were reported during the initial phase of the harvest. However, Orange Rust may negatively impact some of the new seed variety programs.

Meanwhile, showers during most of October slowed some field activities. The rains and warm temperatures during most of the month boosted the development of late plantings of peanuts.

Growers in Santa Rosa County had defoliated nearly half of their cotton by the end of the first week in October. However, heavy rains in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties around mid-month knocked open bolls off plants with a considerable amount of cotton on the ground by the end of the month.

The ample rains at the end of the month delayed some peanut digging and lowered peanut quality in fields dug but not combined.

Lesser amounts of rain around Lake Okeechobee during October kept most sugarcane cutting on schedule.

During early November, dry weather aided the harvesting of crops with peanut digging 95 percent done by Nov. 11.

However, cold temperatures arrived during the first week of November as low temperatures fell into the 20s and 30s in some Panhandle and northern Peninsula localities.

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