Weather: Planting and harvesting progressed normally due to mostly
dry and cool conditions during the first half of January 2005. Dry
conditions for most of the month increased the danger for wild fires. A
cold front swept over the State towards the end of the month which
caused some vegetable producers to cover plants with freeze cloths or
run overhead sprinklers for cold protection. Strawberry growers also
ran overhead sprinklers to form ice caps on plants and berries as
protection from the cold which saved some immature fruit and most
plants. Abundant supplies of some vegetables, near the end of January,
drove prices below the cost of production causing some growers to stop
Mostly clear, dry conditions persisted throughout February
allowing planting and harvesting to proceed on schedule. Highbush
blueberries started to bloom at the beginning of the month. Growers in
the Quincy area started to lay plastic for tomato transplanting. Near the
end of the month, potato digging increased around Hastings. The dry
weather in February continued to increase the risk for wild fires in
scattered areas across the Peninsula. Soil moisture supplies declined
until significant rains near the end of the month helped replenish some
soil moisture levels.
At the beginning of March, northern Peninsula and Panhandle growers prepared land for planting of watermelons as producers in the Quincy area transplanted tomatoes. Cabbage cutting neared the usual seasonal peak in mid-March as growers met the increased demand for the St. Patrick's Day holiday. Temperatures for most of the month were below normal with cooler conditions favoring disease development in some blueberries. Some strawberry growers opened fields for U-Pic during the last half of the month as the season neared the end. During late March, storms reduced the quality and yield prospects of some vegetables with most in fairly good condition at the end of the period. Heavy periods of precipitation and muddy fields towards the end of the month hindered some field preparation, planting and harvesting.
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 11 selected fresh market
vegetables during the spring quarter is forecast at 214,100 acres, down
5 percent from last year. Acreage decreases for snap beans, broccoli,
cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, head lettuce, and tomatoes
more than offset acreage increases for carrots, sweet corn, and bell
peppers. Melon acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 79,100 acres,
down 1 percent from last year. Watermelon acreage is up 3 percent
from 2004. Cantaloup acreage is down 4 percent from a year ago.
Honeydew melon acreage is down 13 percent. Asparagus acreage for
spring harvest is forecast at 49,500 acres, down 6 percent from last
year. Strawberry acreage for harvest is forecast at 43,700 acres, up 2
percent for comparable States in 2004.
Tomatoes: Acreage for harvest is forecast at 27,600 acres, down 1
percent from 2004. In California, continued rainfall and wet soil
conditions slowed field activity throughout March leading to a decrease
in harvested acres. No pest or disease problems have been reported
thus far. Florida's weather has been cooler than normal, causing slower
foliage and fruit development. However, most of the acreage is in good
condition. Harvest is active in the southern Peninsula during March.
Sweet Corn: Intended acreage for harvest is forecast at 38,600 acres,
up 4 percent from a year ago. Both California and Florida expect
increased acreage for the spring season. The California crop is in good
to excellent condition with no pest or disease problems reported. In
Florida, cooler temperatures during most of March slowed stalk and ear
development. Recent warmer weather has spurred development and
most acreage is reported in good condition.
Watermelons: Acreage intended for harvest is forecast at 44,300
acres, up 3 percent from last year. California's melon crop is
progressing slowly due to cool temperatures and cloudy skies and is
expected to reach the market two weeks late. Demand is high for the
new baby watermelons. Florida's harvest is expected to begin in April
and continue into early July. Texas growers are concerned about fungal
disease pressure carried over from last year's crop.
Bell Peppers: Acreage for harvest is forecast at 8,100 acres, up 7 percent from 2004. In Florida, favorable conditions early in the season allowed good growth and development. However, recent rainy weather may have caused damage to the crop. The extent of the damage is currently being assessed. Texas bell peppers are doing well but harvest was slowed by excessive rainfall early in the season.
Snap Beans: Acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 22,100 acres,
down 1 percent from last year. Florida and New Jersey acreage
increased 1 percent and 13 percent, respectively, while Georgia's
acreage decreased 6 percent. Florida growers are harvesting the winter
acreage and will soon start on the spring crop. No major problems have
been reported. Georgia snap beans are in good to fair condition with
favorable conditions reported for this season. New Jersey growers,
although intending to plant more snap beans this year because of good
prices, are concerned over rising fuel and labor costs.
Cucumbers: Spring harvested acreage is forecast at 7,200 acres, down
3 percent from 2004. Florida's acreage is forecast at 5,900 acres, 3
percent below last year. Planting was on schedule until recent rains
interrupted field work. Acreage in South Carolina and Texas is
unchanged from last year. Texas growers report favorable growing
conditions for this year's spring crop.
Cabbage: Acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 7,700 acres, down 6 percent from last year. Acreage is unchanged for Florida, New Jersey, and Texas while Georgia's acreage decreased 11 percent. Florida's harvest is active with no major problems reported. The Georgia crop is in good condition. Soil moisture and temperatures have been favorable for the crop this season. Growing conditions have been favorable for the early cabbage crop in New Jersey. Texas growers report wet and muddy field conditions which have slowed harvest.
Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, spring quarter
by States, 2005 with comparisons
|Bell Peppers: 1/|
|TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED|
|TOTAL OF CROPS ESTIMATED|
|United States 2/||291,200||305,200||293,200||96|
1/ Includes fresh market and processing.
2/ Total of crops listed plus broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cantaloups, and honeydew melons.