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SPRING ACREAGE (April, May, June, July)
April 6, 2004

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


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 rainsduring 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- March.

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
Selected crops
and States
Spring acreage 2004 area
for harvest
as percent
of 2003
Harvested For
2002 2003
  Acres Percent
Snap Beans:
   Florida Apr-Jun 12,500 11,000 12,600 115
  Georgia Apr-Jun 9,500 8,500 9,500 118
  New Jersey Jun-Jul 1,500 1,400 1,500 107
    Total 23,500 20,900 23,600 113
   Florida Apr-Jun 2,000 1,800 1,800 100
  Georgia Apr-Jun 3,400 3,600 3,600 100
  New Jersey May-Aug 1,100 1,000 1,000 100
  Texas Apr-Jun 600 700 1,500 214
    Total 7,100 7,100 7,900 111
Sweet Corn:
   Florida Apr-Jul 27,500 26,000 25,500 98
  California Apr-Jun 11,300 12,300 11,700 95
    Total 38,800 38,300 37,200 97
   Florida Apr-Jun 5,500 6,500 6,500 100
  South Carolina May-Aug 1,200 1,200 1,000 83
  Texas Apr-Jun 400 300 1,000 333
    Total 7,100 8,000 8,500 106
Bell Peppers1/
   Florida Apr-Jul 7,000 7,000 7,300 104
  Texas Apr-Jun 500 500 300 60
    Total 7,500 7,500 7,600 101
   Florida Apr-Jul 17,000 16,900 16,400 97
  California Apr-Jun 7,200 6,600 7,500 114
  South Carolina May-Aug 3,100 3,300 4,000 121
    Total 27,300 26,800 27,900 104
   Florida Apr-Jul 23,000 24,000 25,000 104
  Arizona 2/ May-Jul 5,100 -- -- --
  California Apr-Jun 2,800 3,100 3,100 100
  Texas Apr-Jun 17,000 16,000 17,000 106
    Total 47,900 43,100 45,100 105
   Florida 94,500 93,200 95,100 102
  United States 159,200 151,700 157,800 104
  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.

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