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SPRING ACREAGE (April, May, June, July)
April 13, 1998

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


This report reflects conditions as of April 1 and represents acreage for harvest during the months of April through July. Estimated acreage for harvest by growing areas is presented in order: area, previous year (1997), current year (1998).

WEATHER: Rainy weather persisted during January through March. Strong winds that accompanied storms tossed crops and blew off blooms with wind-borne sand scarring fruit. Spring crop yield prospects for most crops are below normal due to this wind damage. However, virtually all crops escaped damage from tornadoes spawned by these storms. Muddy soils delayed some planting in most areas and damaged some root crops around Zellwood. January precipitation ranged from an inch at Miami to over eleven inches at West Palm Beach. February totals ranged from about four and a half inches at Key West to over ten inches at Tampa. March rain totaled from about two and three forths inches at Jacksonville to six and a half inches at Valparaiso. Most January temperatures averaged three to four degrees above normal. February temperatures were within a degree or two of normal. March temperatures plunged to freezing levels over many western Panhandle and northern and central Peninsula localities during March 11 through 13 with monthly average temperatures mostly two to three degrees below normal during March.

SNAP BEANS: Crop condition has improved with warm, dry weather during late March and early April. The current snap bean condition is fair to good. Harvesting is active with quality and color ranging from fair to very good. (Dade County and East Coast, 3,500, 4,300; Southwest and Everglades, 4,000, 4,500; Central, North, and West, 4,500, 4,200; all areas, 12,000, 13,000).

CABBAGE: The wet weather during the winter slowed the growth and development of the crop. The quality has been fair to good. Head size has been smaller than normal. Harvest is active in most areas. (Hastings, North, and West, 1,400, 1,500; Central and South, 1,800, 1,800; all areas, 3,200, 3,300).

CARROTS: The frequent rainfall in January, February, and March flooded some fields with a significant acreage lost. Spring crop plantings and winter crop digging were delayed due to muddy conditions. Heavy culling caused below normal yields for some of the winter crop. The near freezing temperatures during early March caused no significant damage. (All areas, 1,900, 1,800).

SWEET CORN: Southwestern growers started spring planting in late January. Zellwood plantings started during late February with the March storms causing delays due to muddy fields. Strong winds during February storms lodged some spring crop acreage in the Everglades and Southwest regions with plants making full recovery. Pulling started in the Everglades region during March. Cold temperatures near mid-March hindered kernel development with balmy conditions during late March into early April speeding ear development. (Central, 6,000, 6,400; Everglades, 20,100, 19,100; Southeast and Southwest, 1,900, 1,400; West and North, 2,300, 2,200; all areas, 30,300, 29,100).

CUCUMBERS: Cooler temperatures and windy conditions affected plant growth and development throughout January, February, and March. Wind breaks helped to limit the damage in some East Coast and Southwest localities. (North, 400, 500; Central, 1,130, 1,500; Southwest, 1,270, 900; Southeast, 2,800, 2,300; all areas, 5,600, 5,200)

EGGPLANT: Weather and growing conditions have been fair for eggplant during the early and late parts of the WINTER growing season. Overall growth and development have remained slow. Currently, harvest of a light volume remains underway. Quality is variable. Plants that will be harvested during the spring season look fair at this time. (All areas, 500, 500).

ESCAROLE-ENDIVE: Heavy rainfall severely damaged some fall crop acreage in the Zellwood area. Wind and low temperatures in early January caused some leaf burn in both the Everglades and Central regions. The crop suffered only light damage from early February adverse weather. Clearer weather during late February improved crop condition. Rains during March interrupted some harvesting. (All areas, 600, 550).

BELL PEPPER: Storms during January, February, and most of March blew blooms and foliage off plants which lowered yield prospects for the spring crop. The loss of foliage left some fruit in the East Coast area exposed to the sun and susceptible to scalding. Palmetto-Ruskin growers started planting in late January with some acreage replanted due to damage from February and March storms and cold temperatures just before mid-March. Southwestern producers finished planting by about mid-February. (Southeast, 1,250, 1,300; Southwest, 2,700, 2,900; Central and North, 3,150, 3,100; all areas, 7,100, 7,300)

TOMATOES: Storms during January, February, and March blew blooms off plants and scarred fruit which resulted in lower spring crop yield prospects. Cold weather near mid-March severely damaged plants in the Palmetto-Ruskin area with growers making spot resets. (Palmetto-Ruskin, 7,200, 7,400; Southwest, 2,600, 2,500; East Coast, 1,200, 1,700; Dade, 600, 600; North, 1,500, 1,500; all areas, 13,100, 13,700)

WATERMELONS: The wet soil conditions during winter slowed planting of the spring watermelon crop. The mid-March freeze killed some of the early planted northern acreage. The lost acreage was replanted. Planting is active in the north. The warm, dry weather in late March and April has helped the growth and development of the crop. (All areas, 30,000, 34,000).


The prospective area for harvest of 13 selected fresh market vegetables during the spring quarter is forecast at 229,600 acres, up 1 percent from last year. Acreage increases in snap beans, carrots, sweet corn, head lettuce, and bell peppers more than offset decreases in broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, escarole/endive, and tomatoes. Acreage for eggplant was unchanged. Acreage for spring harvest of 3 selected melons is estimated at 115,300 acres, up 2 percent from last year. Cantaloups, honeydews, and watermelon acreage all showed increases from last year.

TOMATOES: Intended acreage for harvest is forecast at 30,550 acres, down 2 percent from 1997. In California, winter rains delayed planting in the San Joaquin Valley. Although much rain was received in South Carolina, producers believed that this had little impact on the acreage of tomatoes planted. In Alabama, cool, wet conditions delayed planting and transplanting by about one week.

WATERMELONS: Acreage intended for harvest is estimated at 69,100 acres, up 2 percent from last year. Cool weather delayed planting and transplanting about a week in Alabama. California's desert crop was sprayed for whiteflies and mildew. Frost was also a problem in January and February, but milder conditions in March enhanced growing conditions.

Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, spring quarter
by States, 1998 with comparisons
Selected crops
and States
Spring acreage 1998 area
for harvest
as percent
of 1997
Harvested For
1996 1997
Acres Percent
     Florida Apr-Jun 9,000 12,000 13,000 108
    Georgia Apr-Jun 5,500 3,800 4,200 111
    New Jersey Jun-Jul 1,000 1,000 1,100 110
    South Carolina May-Aug 1,200 1,500 1,200 80
        Total 16,700 18,300 19,500 107
     Florida Apr-Jun 3,100 3,200 3,300 103
    Georgia Apr-Jun 3,700 5,500 5,100 93
    New Jersey Jun-Jul 1,100 1,100 1,200 109
    Texas Apr-Jun 1,500 1,100 1,200 109
        Total 9,400 10,900 10,800 99
     Florida Apr-Jun 1,800 1,900 1,800 95
    California Apr-Jun 17,600 16,800 18,000 107
    Texas Apr-Jun 1,000 700 1,900 271
        Total 20,400 19,400 21,700 112
     Florida Apr-Jun 29,900 30,300 29,100 96
    California Apr-Jun 9,600 10,800 12,500 116
        Total 39,500 41,100 41,600 101
     Florida Jan-Jun 5,900 5,600 5,200 93
    South Carolina May-Aug 1,200 1,000 1,200 120
    Texas Apr-Jun 700 600 600 100
        Total 7,800 7,200 7,000 97
     Florida Apr-Jul 500 500 500 100
     Florida Apr-Jul 650 600 550 92
    New Jersey May-Aug 400 400 400 100
        Total 1,050 1,000 950 95
     Florida Apr-Jun 7,100 7,100 7,300 103
    Texas Apr-Jun 1,000 800 700 88
        Total 8,100 7,900 8,000 101
     Florida Apr-Jun 15,700 13,100 13,700 105
    Alabama Jun-Jul 700 700 600 86
    Arkansas Jun-Aug 500 550 650 118
    California Apr-Jun 6,700 10,000 8,400 84
    South Carolina May-Jul 3,800 3,700 3,600 97
    Texas Apr-Jun 3,900 3,200 3,600 113
        Total 31,300 31,250 30,550 98
     Florida Apr-Jun 34,000 30,000 34,000 113
    Alabama Jun-Jul 2,900 1,700 2,100 124
    Arizona Apr-Jun 6,700 6,900 7,600 110
    California May-Jun 6,000 4,900 4,400 90
    Texas Apr-Jun 30,000 24,000 21,000 88
        Total 79,600 67,500 69,100 102
     Florida 107,650 104,300 108,450 104
    United States 214,350 205,050 209,700 102
    United States 2/ 349,650 340,050 344,900 101
1/ Includes fresh market and processing.
2/ Total of crops listed plus broccoli, cauliflower, celery, head lettuce, cantaloups, and honeydew melons.

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