Weather: Dry, cool conditions persisted during most of
January 2004. At the beginning of the month, strawberry
producers around Plant City kept nighttime surveillance as
temperatures plunged to near freezing levels due to an Arctic
cold air mass covering the State. Moderate frost on the ground
was reported on several mornings in northern locations and to
a lesser degree in central locations, especially near the end of
the month. Tomato picking was virtually finished in the
Palmetto-Ruskin region by mid-month as Miami-Dade County
producers increased harvesting. Tomato picking in the
Immokalee area was steady throughout most of the month.
Potato producers started planting in the Hastings area about
mid-month. However, a lack of contracts for chipping potatoes
limited the planting of processing types. Significant rains fell
in most areas during the last week of the month with some
vegetable planting and harvesting curtailed for a few days.
Mostly cool temperatures prevailed during February.
Significant rains fell over most Panhandle and northern
Peninsula localities with abundant rains near the end of the
month slowing land preparations for watermelon planting. The
ground was too dry to dig fence post holes in Union County
early in the month. Southern Peninsula producers dug potatoes
for most of the month with rain delaying some potato planting
and cabbage cutting around Hastings early in the month.
Vegetable harvesting was active with snap beans, celery,
sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, lettuce,
peppers, radishes, squash and tomatoes available. Significant rains
during the last week curtailed some planting and harvesting
over the southern Peninsula.
Dry conditions during the first half of March gave
way to spotty showers during the last two weeks. Most
temperatures for the month averaged above normal with
northern areas recording some temperatures near freezing
during the first part and again at the end of the month. The
warmer temperatures brought out the blooms on northern
ornamental and non-citrus fruit trees. Most potato planting
was finished around Hastings by early March. Cabbage
cutting around Hastings and in other areas, and potato digging
in southern areas increased as growers met the mid-March
holiday demand. Vegetable growers got planting and harvesting back on schedule as soils dried from the late February
downpour. with snap beans, celery, sweet corn, eggplant,
escarole, endive, lettuce, peppers, squash, strawberries and
tomatoes available throughout the month. Tomato planting
was active around Quincy and blueberries reached full bloom
in Jackson County by mid-month. Dry soils prevented some
planting in the Panhandle and northern Peninsula in mid-
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.
The prospective area for harvest of 10 selected fresh
market vegetables plus cantaloups, watermelons and honeydew
melons, during the spring quarter, is forecast at 306,100 acres,
up 4 percent from last year. Acreage increased for all forecasted
vegetables except for celery which remains unchanged and
sweet corn which decreased 3 percent. Melon acreage for spring
harvest is forecast at 83,700 acres, up 7 percent from last year.
Cantaloup acreage is up 13 percent from a year ago. Watermelon acreage is up 5 percent from 2003. Honeydew melon
acreage is down 7 percent. Asparagus acreage for spring harvest
is forecast at 53,500 acres, down 20 percent from last year.
Snap Beans: Acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 23,600
acres, up 13 percent from last year. Georgia snap beans are in
good to fair condition with the crop in need of rain. New Jersey
snap beans were planted on schedule and recent mild temperatures have benefitted the crop.
Cabbage: Acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 7,900 acres,
up 11 percent from last year. In Georgia, the crop is in good
condition. Growing conditions for the early cabbage crop in
New Jersey are normal. Texas growers are having a very good
season. Planting is ongoing and harvest recently began in some
areas. Crop quality is excellent.
Sweet Corn: Intended acreage for harvest is forecast at 37,200
acres, down 3 percent from a year ago. The California crop is
doing very well despite the grocery worker strike in the Los
Angeles area which delayed planting in the Imperial Valley.
Cucumbers: Spring harvested acreage is forecast at 8,500
acres, up 6 percent from 2003. In Texas, conditions have been
favorable this season and growers expect a good crop.
Bell Peppers: Acreage for harvest is forecast at 7,600 acres,
up 1 percent from 2003. Texas bell pepper acreage is down due
to competition from Mexico.
Tomatoes: Acreage for harvest is forecast at 27,900 acres, up
4 percent from 2003. In California, rainfall and wet soil
conditions slowed field activity in early March but by the
middle of the month, work had increased to a more normal pace.
No pest or disease problems have been reported thus far.
Watermelons: Acreage intended for harvest is forecast at 45,100 acres, up 5 percent from last year. California's melon crop is progressing well with no major problems reported. Texas weather conditions have been excellent.
Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, spring quarter
by States, 2004 with comparisons
|Bell Peppers: 1/|
|TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED|
|TOTAL OF CROPS ESTIMATED|
|United States 3/||298,100||294,500||306,100||104|
1/ Includes fresh market and processing.
2/ Seasonal estimate discontinued. Estimate to be published in January 2005 annual.
3/ Total of crops listed plus broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cantaloups, and honeydew melons.