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VEGETABLES

SPRING ACREAGE (April, May, June, July)
April 5, 2005

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


FLORIDA

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 harvests.

  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.

UNITED STATES

  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
Selected crops
and States
Usual
harvest
period
Spring acreage 2005 area
for harvest
as percent
of 2004
Harvested For
harvest
2005
2003 2004
  Acres Percent
Snap Beans:
   Florida Apr-Jun 11,000 11,400 11,500 101
  Georgia Apr-Jun 8,500 9,500 8,900 94
  New Jersey Jun-Aug 1,400 1,500 1,700 113
    Total 20,900 22,400 22,100 99
Cabbage:
   Florida Apr-Jun 1,800 1,800 1,800 100
  Georgia Apr-Jun 4,400 4,500 4,000 89
  New Jersey May-Aug 1,000 1,000 1,000 100
  Texas Apr-Jun 700 900 900 100
    Total 7,900 8,200 7,700 94
Sweet Corn:
   Florida Apr-Jun 26,000 25,500 26,000 102
  California Apr-Jun 12,300 11,700 12,600 108
    Total 38,300 37,200 38,600 104
Cucumbers:
   Florida Apr-Jun 6,500 6,100 5,900 97
  South Carolina May-Aug 1,200 1,000 1,000 100
  Texas Apr-Jun 300 300 300 100
    Total 8,000 7,400 7,200 97
Bell Peppers1/
   Florida Apr-Jul 7,000 7,300 7,800 107
  Texas Apr-Jun 500 300 300 100
    Total 7,500 7,600 8,100 107
Tomatoes:
   Florida Apr-Jul 16,900 17,000 17,500 103
  California Apr-Jun 6,800 7,500 7,000 93
  South Carolina May-Aug 3,300 3,500 3,100 89
    Total 27,000 28,000 27,600 99
Watermelon:
   Florida Apr-Jul 24,000 25,000 26,000 104
  California Apr-Jun 3,000 3,500 3,300 94
  Texas Apr-Jun 16,000 14,500 15,000 103
    Total 43,000 43,000 44,300 103
TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED
   Florida 93,200 94,100 96,500 103
  United States 152,600 153,800 155,600 101
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.


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