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ACREAGE-FALL QUARTER (October, November, December)
October 6, 2003

USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service   |  1222 Woodward Street   |  Orlando, Florida 32803   |  407 / 648-6013


Florida Weather: The clash of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico sea breezes, coupled with moisture from tropical systems, caused daily, scattered storms during July with some land preparation activities for the planting of fall crops delayed. However, drought conditions stressed some cover crops in St. John's County potato fields. Water accumulation in low lying areas hindered the growth and development of early plantings in some southern Peninsula fields. Cloud cover kept most July temperatures below normal. Wet conditions continued into early August which interrupted field activities with wet, muddy fields slowing some planting and preventing the application of pesticides to some acreage. The leaching of fertilizer along with the prevention of fertilizer applications slowed development of some acreage. Producers in the Hastings area were plowing under cover crops and planting winter crop vegetables by the end of August. The August rains reduced yield prospects for tomatoes around Quincy by increasing bloom and fruit drop. Southern Peninsula growers started planting snap beans in early September. The harvesting of cucumbers and peppers got underway in mid-to-late September with very light amounts marketed. Okra harvesting in Dade County continued during most of August and September. Drier weather during the first part of September allowed the planting of fall crops to proceed at a normal pace in the southern Peninsula. Rains returned during the last part of September which interrupted some planting with most on schedule. Tomato picking started around Quincy by early October as northern Peninsula snap bean harvesting got underway.

This first quarterly release for the 2002-2003 season shows acreage for harvest during fall months of October through December based on conditions existing October 1. Estimated acreage by growing region is no longer available.

Snap Beans: Acreage to be picked is set at 10,200 acres, up 200 acres or two percent from the 10,000 acres harvested during the fall of 2002. Picking in northern areas is getting underway.

Cabbage: Growers hope to harvest 500 acres, equal to the acreage cut during the fall of 2002. Harvesting is expected to begin by early December.

Cucumbers For Fresh Market: Acreage to be picked this fall is estimated at 3,500 acres equal to the acreage picked last fall. Harvesting is underway with very light amounts available.

Sweet Corn: Producers expect to pick 4,800 acres this fall, down 100 acres or two percent from the 4,900 acres harvested last fall. Picking is expected to start in mid-to-late October.

Bell Peppers: Acreage to be picked this fall is set at 4,500 acres. This compares with 4,900 acres harvested last fall. Harvesting is getting underway with very light amounts available.

Tomatoes: Producers hope to pick 14,200 acres this fall, down 1,300 acres or eight percent from the 15,500 acres harvested last fall. Picking around Quincy started by early October.


General: The prospective area for harvest of 11 selected fresh market vegetables and melons during the fall quarter is forecast at 178,750 acres, up 1 percent from last year. Acreage increased for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, and sweet corn, while acreage decreased for snap beans, cucumbers, head lettuce, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Acreage for carrots remained the same. Area forecasted for melon harvest is 14,500 acres, up 14 percent from last year's comparable commodities. Cantaloupe harvested area is forecast at 10,000 acres, up 18 percent from 2002. Honeydew harvested area is forecast at 4,500 acres, up 7 percent from last fall.

Snap Beans: Fall fresh market area for harvest is forecast at 18,000 acres, down 3 percent from last year but 4 percent above 2001. Recent rains have slowed progress but no major problems have occurred as a result. Georgia's recent weather has been dry, which is good during harvest, but more rain was needed to improve crop conditions. The New Jersey yields are expected to be lower for the fall crop due to wet conditions in late August and September. In Virginia, growers have dealt with excessive rainfall from mid-July through mid-August. The effects of Hurricane Isabel, which came through the area on September 18, are unknown at this time.

Cabbage: Fresh market area for harvest is forecast at 6,800 acres, up 8 percent from last year and 15 percent above two years earlier. Georgia's crop benefitted from hot, sunny weather over the summer, but rain is needed to improve crop conditions. New Jersey's fall crop is expected to have lower yields due to wildlife damage and excessive rainfall. In Texas, the Rio Grande Valley region was recently hit hardby rains and growers have been unable to plant because of standing water in the fields.

Sweet Corn: Fresh market area for harvest is forecast at 9,800  acres, up 10 percent from last year and 13 percent above 2001. California's crop is in good condition with no insect or disease problems reported.

Cucumbers: Area for fall harvest is forecast at 7,150 acres, 5 percent below last year and 1 percent lower than 2001. South Carolina had sufficient rainfall and good temperatures early in the season. However, fall conditions have been drier and growers without irrigation are concerned about quality. The Rio Grande Valley region of Texas had problems during planting because of heavy rains which left standing water and prevented workers from getting into the fields. In Virginia, growers were challenged by excessive rainfall from mid-July to mid-August.

Bell Peppers: Fall area for harvest is forecast at 4,800 acres, down 8 percent from both 2002 and 2001. In Texas, planting went well in the San Antonio/Winter Garden area. However, excessive rainfall in the Rio Grande Valley has halted fall planting.

Tomatoes: Fresh market area for fall harvest is forecast at 23,600 acres, 4 percent below last year and down less than 1 percent from 2001. California growers report steady growth and development of the fall tomato crop with no major problems reported.

Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, October, November and
December, by States, 2002 with comparisons
Selected crops
and States
Fall acreage 2003 area
for harvest
as percent
of 2002
Harvested For
2001 2002
  Acres Percent
   Florida Oct-Dec 9,000 10,000 10,200 102
  Georgia Oct-Dec 4,500 5,000 4,500 90
  New Jersey Sep-Oct 1,800 1,600 1,500 94
  Virginia Sep-Oct 2,000 1,900 1,800 95
    Total 17,300 18,500 18,000 97
   Florida Oct-Dec 500 500 500 100
  Georgia Oct-Dec 3,500 4,100 4,800 117
  New Jersey Sep-Nov 500 500 500 100
  Texas Sep-Nov 1,400 1,200 1,000 83
    Total 5,900 6,300 6,800 108
   Florida Oct-Dec 4,900 4,900 4,800 98
  California Oct-Dec 3,800 4,000 5,000 125
    Total 8,700 8,900 9,800 110
   Florida Oct-Dec 3,500 3,500 3,500 100
  South Carolina Oct-Dec 800 800 850 106
  Texas Sep-Nov 1,500 1,400 1,000 71
  Virginia Sep-Oct 1,400 1,800 1,800 100
    Total 7,200 7,500 7,150 95
   Florida  Sep-Dec 4,500 4,900 4,500 92
  Texas Sep-Nov 700 300 300 100
    Total 5,200 5,200 4,800 92
   Florida Sep-Dec 14,000 15,500 14,200 92
  California Oct-Dec 9,700 9,200 9,400 102
    Total 23,700 24,700 23,600 96
   Florida 36,400 39,300 37,700 96
  United States 68,000 71,100 70,150 99
  United States 2/ 177,200 177,000 178,750 101
1/ Includes fresh market and processing.
2/ Total of crops listed plus broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, head lettuce, cantaloupes, and honeydew melons. Estimates for eggplant discontinued in 2002.

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