SPRING ACREAGE (April, May, June, July)
This report reflects conditions as of April 1 and represents acreage for harvest during the spring months of April through July. Estimated acreage for harvest by growing areas is presented in order: area, previous year (1996), current year (1997).
WEATHER: Cold temperatures dipped into central localities near the end of the second week in January with thermometer readings in the 30s and 40s. Rain over the southern Peninsula near mid-month delayed fieldwork and lowered the condition of crops. Cold weather crept south after mid-month with a record low temperature of 46 recorded at Key West on the morning of January 19. Most acreage in the East Coast region escaped harm, while spring crop planting was just beginning around Palmetto-Ruskin. Warm temperatures and mostly dry weather returned in late January. Producers irrigated and applied fertilizer to some damaged fields with a significant amount making a complete recovery. Mostly dry and warm conditions persisted throughout February and March. By early February, late winter and spring crop planting was back on schedule with most of the plants killed by the January cold replanted. Gusting winds in late February blew blooms off plants as blowing sand scarred some fruit in Dade County and the East Coast area. Strong winds in early March around Immokalee and in Dade County caused some minor damage. Most weekly average temperatures were several degrees above normal during the first three months of the year. A cooler spell during the last few days of March and the first part of April helped strawberry development.
SNAP BEANS: Plant growth and development have been very good throughout February and March due to the favorable weather and warm temperatures. Volume increased after mid-March when fields not affected by the January freeze began to produce. (Dade County and East Coast, 3,200, 3,500; Southwest and Everglades, 3,100, 4,000; Central, North, and West, 2,700, 4,500; all areas, 9,000, 12,000)
CABBAGE: Growth and development have been normal with no major problems. Very little if any damage was caused by the low temperatures on January 19-20. Overall weather for the cabbage crop has been slightly on the warm side. Harvest is and has been steady with variable color, size, and volume. Weekly cuttings are expected to continue into early June with average yield and good quality. (Hastings, North, and West, 1,300, 1,400; Central and South, 1,800, 1,800; all areas, 3,100, 3,200).
CARROTS: Growers reseeded young acreage that the January 19 freeze killed. Older fields sustained only light damage with all recovering well during the balmy conditions following the freeze. Only the Zellwood area will dig spring crop carrots. (Zellwood, 1,700, 1,900).
SWEET CORN: Spring crop planting remained active in the East Coast and Southwest areas during early January. The freeze around
January 19 killed all spring crop acreage in the Southwest, and
burned leaves in some fields around Stuart in the East Coast region.
Growers replanted any lost acreage during the balmy conditions that followed the freeze. Planting ended by mid to late March in the Southwest area and during early April in the Everglades region. Everglades growers started picking in late March. (Everglades, 18,800, 13,000; West, North, and North Central, 9,100, 8,600; East Coast, Dade County, and Southwest, 1,800, 2,800; all areas, 29,800, 24,400).
CUCUMBERS: Freezing temperatures around January 19 significantly damaged most plantings with crop covers protecting some fields in the East Coast and Southwest areas. Spring crop planting started in the Palmetto-Ruskin and Southwest regions during early February. Planting in the Southwest ended in early February as harvesting got underway. Palmetto-Ruskin growers finished planting in late March with picking beginning in early April. The following estimates include a small amount picked during January, February, and March. (Southeast, 2,150, 2,980; North and Central, 1,650, 1,370; Southwest, 1,900, 1,250; all areas, 5,700, 5,600).
EGGPLANT: Weather and growing conditions were mostly favorable for eggplant during the early and late parts of the WINTER growing season. Some damage occurred in the East Coast areas from the freezing temperatures during the weekend of January 19. In Dade County, older plants suffered heavy damage from the frost causing poor quality and volume for several weeks. Plants to be harvested during the Spring season look good at this time. (All areas, 500, 500).
ESCAROLE-ENDIVE: The January 19 cold temperatures singed the leaves but virtually all plants made a full recovery. Supplies remained light through February and started increasing in early March. Harvesting was very active by early April around Lakes Apopka and Okeechobee. (All areas, 650, 600).
BELL PEPPER: The freeze around January 19 burned older plants halfway down the main stalk. Young plants escaped significant cold damage. Most acreage in the East Coast area was not affected by the cold temperatures. Producers in the West Central and Lithia areas replanted fields killed by the cold with some acreage recovering well in the balmy conditions that followed. Harvesting began in early April in the West Central area. (North and Central, 2,950, 3,050; Southwest, 3,000, 2,800; Southeast, 1,150, 1,250; all areas, 7,100, 7,100).
TOMATOES: Freezing temperatures around January 19 significantly damaged most plantings. Growers made spot resets for those plants completely killed by the cold. Nearly ideal weather from late January through early April helped plants damaged by the January cold to recover completely. Producers in the Quincy area began planting in early March with ninety-five percent of plantings in the ground by early April. Growers began picking some of the freeze damaged acreage in late March. Palmetto-Ruskin, 8,600, 7,150; Southwest, 2,300, 3,350; North, 2,500, 1,600; East Coast, 1,600, 1,400; Dade, 700, 900; all areas, 15,700, 14,400).
WATERMELONS: Spring crop planting was underway by Mid- January in the southwest area, but most plants that were up, were killed by the January 19 freeze. Some seeded acreage survived the cold temperatures since no plants had germinated. Lost acreage was replanted with planting continuing through mid-March. Warm weather in February and March helped the development of the crop. Harvest is expected to start near mid-April. (All areas, 34,000, 30,000).
SNAP BEANS: Acreage for spring harvest is estimated at 18,200 acres, up 9 percent from last year. Producers in Georgia have experienced favorable growing conditions for their crop.
CABBAGE: Intended acreage for spring harvest, estimated at 8,500 acres shows a decrease of 10 percent from last year. Producers in Georgia had favorable growing conditions for their crop. In New Jersey, below average temperatures delayed planting by 3 to 7 days.
CARROTS: Intended acreage for harvest is estimated at 19,400 acres, down 4 percent from last year. Development of the California crop was hindered by cold conditions in January. However, sufficient moisture and warmth in early spring allowed the crop to advance in time for the April to June harvest.
SWEET CORN: Intended acreage for harvest is estimated at 33,900 acres, down 14 percent from 1996. In California, the warm and dry weather in February and early March provided optimum growing conditions for the crop.
CUCUMBERS: Spring harvest acreage is estimated at 7,200 acres, down 5 percent from 1996.
ESCAROLE/ENDIVE: Intended acreage for spring harvest is estimated at 1,000 acres, down 5 percent from last year. In New Jersey, planting of escarole started in mid-March.
BELL PEPPERS: Acreage for harvest is estimated 7,900 acres, down 2 percent from 1996.
STRAWBERRIES: Acreage intended for spring harvest is estimated at 30,950 acres, down 8 percent from last year.
TOMATOES: Intended acreage for harvest is forecast at 28,150 acres, down 8 percent from 1996. In California, the dry, warm weather in February and March enhanced growing conditions. Producers had thinned and weeded their crop and treated the crop to control aphids.
WATERMELONS: Acreage intended for harvest is estimated at 71,300 acres, down 10 percent from last year. The soil moisture for Alabama toward the end of February was rated mostly adequate to surplus.
Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, spring quarter
by States, 1997 with comparisons
|BELL PEPPERS: 1/|
|TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED|
|TOTAL OF CROPS ESTIMATED|
|United States 2/||346,350||343,850||332,050||97|
1/ Includes fresh market and processing.
2/ Total of crops listed plus broccoli, cauliflower, celery, head lettuce, cantaloups, and honeydew melons.