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VEGETABLES
SPRING ACREAGE (April, May, June, July)
April 8, 2002

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


FLORIDA

WEATHER:. Temperatures dipped to freezing and near freezing levels over the western Panhandle, northern and central Peninsula, and some southern Peninsula localities during the second week of January. Vegetable producers irrigated crops as needed for cold protection. The cold weather lightly singed some lettuce and burned some leaves of young sweet corn in the Everglades. Gusty winds accompanying the cold temperatures blew sand across central and southern Peninsula vegetable fields causing some reduction in quality. Strawberry production dipped slightly in mid-to-late January when producers lost mature fruit from plants that were iced for protection from the earlier cold. Most vegetable acreage recovered well when temperatures soared to record or near record highs during the last half of January. Vegetable harvesting remained active throughout most of the month. Frequent showers over the western Panhandle and northern Peninsula eased dry soil conditions throughout the month. Widespread, soaking rains fell in nearly all areas except for a few southern Peninsula localities around mid-January. Soggy fields delayed the picking of some vegetables around Immokalee after the mid-month showers but boosted the growth of most vegetables. Potato digging increased in southern Peninsula areas during late January.

  Dry, warm weather persisted throughout most of February with the danger of wildfires increasing across the northern and central Peninsula and in a few western Panhandle localities. Peaches, other low chill cultivars of fruit trees and azaleas were blooming in northern areas by mid-month. Northern growers laid plastic for the planting of watermelons. The mostly clear conditions allowed vegetable planting and harvesting to proceed at the usual pace. Some southern and southeastern coastal localities received significant rainfall around mid- month with West Palm Beach recording almost six inches of rain, and Ft. Lauderdale and Ft. Pierce reporting around two inches from these showers. A storm system from the Gulf of Mexico brought at least two days of soaking rains to most areas near the end of the month with precipitation amounts ranging from a third inch to almost five inches. These rains delayed fieldwork and reduced the quality of some vegetables in the affected areas. The rains eased the threat of wildfires in most localities. Cold weather arrived at the end of the month bringing frost and freezes to the western Panhandle and some northern and central Peninsula localities.

  Cold, rainy weather during early March brought hard freezes to some northern areas and dumped from five to nine inches of rain over some Big Bend localities. The freezing temperatures killed some early watermelon transplants, singed some cole crops and damaged the tops of potatoes in the Hastings area with older plants suffering the most harm. Temperatures warmed by mid month. Mostly light showers kept the danger of wildfires high during the month, especially over central Peninsula areas. Vegetable planting and harvesting continued at a normal pace for most of the month. Temperatures again plunged during late month bringing lows in the 30s to some Panhandle and northern Peninsula localities and lows in the 40s to many central Peninsula areas. This cold caused no significant damage to tomatoes around Quincy but killed some very young watermelon transplants with producers replanting as needed. Temperatures remained mostly normal during the last week of the month when daily afternoon storms returned to some Peninsula localities.

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 by growing region is no longer available.


UNITED STATES

  The prospective area for harvest of 11 selected fresh market vegetables during the spring quarter is forecast at 220,100 acres, down 1 percent from last year for comparable commodities. Acreage decreases for broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, and head lettuce more than offset acreage increases for snap beans, sweet corn, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Melon acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 84,300 acres, down 4 percent from last year. Cantaloup, honeydews, and watermelon were down 4, 3, and 5 percent, respectively.

SNAP BEANS: Acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 24,000 acres, up 2 percent from last year. Florida growers are harvesting the winter acreage and will soon start on the spring crop. No major problems have been reported. Land preparation for spring planting in Georgia was active during the month.

CABBAGE: Acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 10,600 acres, down 5 percent from last year. Florida's short cold weather periods have not harmed the crop. Georgia growers prepared land for spring planting during March. New Jersey's mild winter and cold spring were favorable for the early cabbage crop. Texas weather conditions have fluctuated greatly this spring. Cabbage in the San Antonio Winter Garden area is showing signs of freeze damage that occurred during the end of February and the beginning of March. Rainfall over some areas of central Texas has varied from 81 hundredths of an inch to over one and one-half inches. South Texas has had continued cool, dry weather with windy conditions causing some farmers to stop planting.

SWEET CORN: Intended acreage for harvest is forecast at 37,000 acres, up 1 percent from last year's acreage. The California southern desert area had colder than normal temperatures which will delay harvest this spring. However, due to ideal growing conditions in central California, the sweet corn planted for spring harvest is doing very well. A large amount of the spring harvest in central California is scheduled to occur on time in June. No pest or disease problems were reported in the central or southern areas. In Florida, cold temperatures in early January shortened some supplies of the winter crop. Most acreage escaped damage from the cold temperatures during March.

CUCUMBERS: Spring harvested acreage is forecast at 4,900 acres, down 6 percent from 2001. In Florida, growers are starting to harvest the spring crop. No major problems have been reported. Texas cucumbers are off to a slow start with a later harvest expected due to late snow and cool weather in the west and lack of rain in some areas of south Texas.

BELL PEPPERS: Acreage for harvest is forecast at 7,500 acres, up 4 percent from 2001. In Florida, cold temperatures in early January and March, combined with soaking mid-January rains slowed plant growth and fruit maturation. Most planting for the spring crop remained on schedule. In south Texas, rainfall is needed. The San Antonio Winter Garden area shows signs of freeze damage that occurred during the end of February and the first week of March.

TOMATOES: Acreage for harvest is forecast at 28,300 acres, up 4 percent from 2001. In California, cold weather in February and March slowed crop development. Wet conditions in January slowed field preparation for fresh market tomatoes in the San Joaquin Valley. Transplanting started in late February and should continue through early April. No pest or disease problems have been reported. Florida tomato growing areas were affected by cold temperatures in early January and March. Mid-January soaking rains slowed plant growth and fruit maturation.

WATERMELONS: Acreage intended for harvest is forecast at 48,200 acres, down 5 percent from last year. Arizona's spring harvest was generally unaffected by the winter's several cold snaps throughout the State because many producers use plastic coverings over the young plants during the early planting months. The California crop experienced unusually cool temperatures which slowed the growth of melons. In Florida, cold temperatures in March caused some replanting of northern Peninsula acreage. In Texas, melons in the San Antonio Winter Garden area showed signs of freeze damage that occurred during the end of February and the beginning of March. Rainfall over some areas of central Texas has varied from 81 hundredths of an inch to over one and one-half inches. Rain is needed in south Texas.


SPRING ACREAGE

PAGE 2
April 8, 2002

Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, spring quarter
by States, 2002 with comparisons
Selected crops
and States
Usual
harvest
period
Spring acreage 2002 area
for harvest
as percent
of 2001
Harvested For
harvest
2002
2000 2001
  Acres Percent
SNAP BEANS:
   Florida Apr-Jun 15,000 13,000 13,000 100
  Georgia Apr-Jun 8,200 9,000 9,500 106
  New Jersey Jun-Jul 1,300 1,500 1,500 100
    Total 24,500 23,500 24,000 102
CABBAGE:
   Florida Apr-Jun 4,000 5,000 5,500 110
  Georgia Apr-Jun 3,800 4,200 3,400 81
  New Jersey May-Aug 900 1,000 1,100 110
  Texas Apr-Jun 600 1,000 600 60
    Total 9,300 11,200 10,600 95
SWEET CORN:
   Florida 2/ Apr-Jul 25,800 25,600 26,000 102
  California Apr-Jun 11,000 11,000 11,000 100
    Total 36,800 36,600 37,000 101
CUCUMBERS:
   Florida Apr-Jun 4,300 3,800 3,500 92
  South Carolina May-Aug 900 1,100 1,000 91
  Texas Apr-Jun 400 300 400 133
    Total 5,600 5,200 4,900 94
EGGPLANT:
   Florida 1/ Apr-Jun 500 400 -- --
ESCAROLE/ENDIVE:
   Florida  1/ 3/ Apr-Jun 300 -- -- --
  New Jersey  1/ 3/ May-Aug 400 -- -- --
    Total 700 700 -- --
BELL PEPPERS2/
   Florida Apr-Jul 6,600 6,800 7,000 103
  Texas Apr-Jun 500 400 500 125
    Total 7,100 7,200 7,500 104
TOMATOES:
   Florida Apr-Jul 12,200 16,500 17,000 103
  California Apr-Jun 7,000 7,500 8,300 111
  South Carolina May-Jul 3,400 3,200 3,000 94
    Total 22,600 27,200 28,300 104
WATERMELON:
   Florida Apr-Jun 27,000 24,000 23,000 96
  Arizona May-Jul 6,100 5,500 5,000 91
  California Apr-Jun 3,000 3,000 3,200 107
  Texas Apr-Jun 22,000 18,000 17,000 94
    Total 58,100 50,500 48,200 95
TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED
   Florida 95,700 95,100 95,000 99
  United States 165,200 162,500 160,500 99
TOTAL OF CROPS ESTIMATED
  United States 4/ 309,900 312,200 304,400 98
1/ Seasonal estimate discontinued in 2002.
2/ Includes fresh market and processing.
3/ 2001 State data not published to avoid disclosure.
4/ Total of crops listed plus broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, head lettuce, cantaloups, and honeydew melons.


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