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SPRING ACREAGE (April, May, June, July)
April 9, 2001

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


WEATHER: Freezing temperatures dipped down into the southern Peninsula as the New Year arrived with lowest readings coming on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and late in the first week of 2001. Some Homestead and Immokalee crops not protected by freeze covers or irrigation suffered significant damage from this freeze. Cool temperatures throughout January slowed plant growth and fruit development with supplies of many crops significantly below normal. January temperatures averaged one to six degrees below normal. January rainfall ranged from a third inch to almost four inches below normal. Milder conditions during February allowed some acreage to recover from the freeze damages. February temperatures averaged four to almost eight degrees above normal while precipitation totals ranged from two and a half to five and a quarter inches below normal. Storms during March brought welcomed rains to many Peninsula localities but strong winds caused some foliage damage with blowing sand scarring some fruit. The March rain totals ranged from one and a half inches below normal to over seven inches above. Cloud cover during storms kept March temperatures below normal for a few days but clear skies during most of the month caused monthly average temperatures to hover around normal levels. The mostly dry weather during the first three months of 2001 kept the threat of wild fires at dangerous levels with drought conditions persisting throughout the period.

This report reflects conditions as of April 1 and represents acreage for harvest during the spring months of April, May, June, and July. Estimated acreage for harvest by growing areas is presented in order: area, previous year (2000), current year (2001).

SNAP BEANS: The snap bean crop is in mostly good condition. Planting of the spring crop is virtually complete. Harvest is active in southern areas with good quality and volume available. (All areas, 15,000, 15,000)

CABBAGE: The cabbage crop is all planted. Harvest is active in the central and northern areas. Harvest is winding down in the southern areas. The crop is in fair to good condition. Head quality and size are generally good. (All areas, 4,000, 5,500)

SWEET CORN: Acreage in the Everglades region suffered heavy damage during the New Year's freeze with growers replanting plants killed by the cold. Dade County producers planted corn in some abandoned potato fields during late January and finished all planting by early February. Southwestern growers finished planting during early February when Zellwood producers began planting in the Apopka area. Everglades producers wound down planting by mid- March when picking of a limited acreage that recovered from the freeze began. Strong winds around mid-March damaged some leaves in southern Peninsula localities with plants expected to recover. Cool temperatures at the end of March slowed crop development in the Zellwood area with producers expecting spring crop picking to begin during the first week of May. (Everglades, 20,600, 20,200; Central, 1,500, 1,200; North, 2,050, 1,900; other, 1,650, 2,100; all areas, 25,800, 25,400)

CUCUMBERS: Planting of the spring crop is winding down. Harvesting is active in the southern areas. The crop is in fair to good condition. Growth and development are normal. The quality of the harvested fruit is fair to good. (All areas, 4,300, 3,800)

EGGPLANT: Crop condition is fair to mostly good with normal growth and development. (All areas, 500, 400)

BELL PEPPERS: Growers used freeze covers to protect a lot of acreage from the New Year's freeze. This freeze caused some leafburn to unprotected plants while strong winds that followed increased bloom and small fruit drop. Producers in the West Central area began planting during the last week of January and finished after mid-March. Southwestern growers completed planting after mid- February. Cool temperatures during January and part of March slowed plant growth and fruit maturation. Harvesting in the Southwest and East Coast areas continued throughout the first three months of the year with supplies down due to adverse weather. East Coast producers finished spring crop planting in late March. (Southwest, 2,800, 2,700; Central, 2,650, 3,100; East Coast, 1,050, 1,000; all areas, 6,500, 6,800)

TOMATOES: Temperatures near freezing during the New Year's holiday caused significant damage to foliage with some fruit frozen in the Immokalee area. Dade County growers ran overhead sprinklers as protection from this cold weather. Strong winds accompanying the freeze increased bloom and fruit drop with winter crop supplies significantly lower than normal. Cool weather during January and part of March delayed plant growth and fruit maturation. Strong winds that followed welcomed showers near mid-March in the Southwest and Palmetto-Ruskin areas, broke some stems and caused some leaves to fall off plants with blowing sand scarring some fruit. Dade County producers finished transplanting in late January while growers around Immokalee finished during late February. Growers in the Quincy area started planting about mid-March with transplanting ending in the East Coast and Palmetto-Ruskin regions during late March. In late March, southern Peninsula producers started to pick acreage planted after the New Year's freeze. (Palmetto-Ruskin, 7,250, 8,200; Southwest, 1,850, 4,700; East Coast, 1,450, 1,950; other 2,150, 2,950; all areas, 12,700, 17,800)

WATERMELONS: The crop is in fair to good condition. Recent storms in the Palmetto-Ruskin area flooded some acreage with the amount of damage currently being assessed. Planting in northern areas expected to start shortly. (All areas, 27,000, 24,000)


  The prospective area for harvest of 13 selected fresh market vegetables during the spring quarter is forecast at 230,300 acres, up 8 percent from last year. Acreage increases for broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, head lettuce, bell peppers, and tomatoes more than offset decreases for snap beans, sweet corn, cucumbers, and eggplant. Acreage for escarole/endive remained the same. Acreage for spring harvest of 3 selected melons is forecast at 89,300 acres, down 9 percent from last year. Cantaloupe, honeydews, and watermelon were down 4, 9, and 12 percent, respectively.

Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, spring quarter
by States, 2001 with comparisons
Selected crops
and States
Spring acreage 2001 area
for harvest
as percent
of 2000
Harvested For
1999 2000
  Acres Percent
   Florida Apr-Jun 14,000 15,000 15,000 100
  Georgia Apr-Jun 7,000 8,200 7,500 91
  New Jersey Jun-Jul 1,300 1,300 1,600 123
  South Carolina 1/ May-Aug 1,100 -- -- --
    Total 23,400 24,500 24,100 98
   Florida Apr-Jun 1,600 4,000 5,500 138
  Georgia Apr-Jun 4,200 3,800 4,200 111
  New Jersey May-Aug 900 900 1,000 111
  Texas Apr-Jun 800 600 1,000 167
    Total 7,500 9,300 11,700 126
   Florida 2/ Apr-Jul 28,000 25,800 25,400 98
  California Apr-Jun 11,000 11,000 11,000 100
    Total 39,000 36,800 36,400 99
   Florida Apr-Jun 5,300 4,300 3,800 88
  South Carolina May-Aug 1,000 900 1,100 122
  Texas Apr-Jun 600 400 300 75
    Total 6,900 5,600 5,200 93
   Florida Apr-Jun 600 500 400 80
   Florida 3/ Apr-Jun 400 300 -- --
  New Jersey 3/ May-Aug 400 400 -- --
    Total 800 700 700 100
   Florida 2/ Apr-Jul 6,500 6,500 6,800 105
  Texas Apr-Jun 400 500 400 80
    Total 6,900 7,000 7,200 103
   Florida 2/ Apr-Jul 12,200 12,700 17,800 140
  Alabama 1/ Jun-Jul 600 -- -- --
  Arkansas 1/ Jun-Aug 750 -- -- --
  California Apr-Jun 8,000 8,200 7,500 91
  South Carolina May-Jul 3,600 3,400 3,200 94
  Texas 1/ Apr-Jun 1,600 -- -- --
    Total 26,750 24,300 28,500 117
   Florida Apr-Jun 35,000 27,000 24,000 89
  Alabama 1/ Jun-Jul 1,900 6,100 5,900 97
  Arizona May-Jul 6,100 -- -- --
  California Apr-Jun 4,200 3,000 3,000 100
  Texas Apr-Jun 21,000 22,000 18,000 82
    Total 68,200 58,100 50,900 88
   Florida 103,600 96,100 98,700 103
  United States 180,050 166,800 165,100 99
  United States 5/ 336,450 312,500 319,600 102
1/ Seasonal estimate discontinued in 2000. Estimate to be published in January 2002 annual.
2/ 2000 State data revised.
3/ 2001 State data not published to avoid disclosure.
4/ Includes fresh market and processing.
5/ Total of crops listed plus broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, head lettuce, cantaloups, and honeydew melons.

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