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SPRING ACREAGE (April, May, June, July)
April 13, 1999

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


WEATHER: Several cool fronts passed over Florida during the months of January through March. Killing frosts oc curred in some northern areas but most cold temperatures were of short duration and were quickly followed by mild and warmer weather. A lack of rain persisted over most areas causing most growers to irrigate often. Temperatures overall were above normal for most of the three month period.

SNAP BEANS: The snap bean crop enters the harvest season in good to very good condition. Harvesting is active at this time. Planting is winding down.

CABBAGE: All of the cabbage crop is planted. Harvest is active in all major growing areas. The warm winter caused cabbage to mature faster than expected so harvest season will end earlier this year.

SWEET CORN: Dade County growers finished planting by late December with harvesting underway by late month. Cool temperatures slowed plant growth and ear development in early January with warmer weather aiding ear develop ment during the rest of January and most of February and March. In mid-January, spring crop acreage was in good condition around Lake Okeechobee. East Coast growers started picking winter crop acreage in late January with crates averaging 48 to 52 ears each. Zellwood producers began planting a limited spring crop acreage on the higher sandy soils away from Lake Apopka during late February with activity completed by mid-March. Harvesting of the spring crop in the Everglades region started during late March and early April.

CUCUMBERS: Cold temperatures in the 30s during early January caused significant damage to the winter crop with growers making salvage harvests of fruit for a few weeks following the bad weather. East Coast producers continued spring crop planting in January, February, and March with oldest acreage blooming and setting fruit by mid-to-late February. Growers in west central and southwestern locali ties began spring crop planting in mid-to-late January with activity finished by mid-March. Warm weather during most of February and March boosted plant growth and fruit development in all areas. East Coast growers covered some acreage for protection from cold temperatures in late February as picking got underway. Strong winds in mid-
March caused no significant damage. West Central producers started harvesting after mid-March.

EGGPLANT: Weather and growing conditions have been fair to good for eggplant during the early and late parts of the winter growing season. Overall growth and development have been mostly good and harvest is currently underway. Quality is mostly good. Plants that will be harvested during the Spring season look good at this time.

ESCAROLE-ENDIVE: The crop escaped significant damage when strong winds and cool temperatures arrived in early January. Mostly warm and dry weather throughout the rest of January and in February and March boosted plant growth. Harvesting continued around Lake Okeechobee with a steady volume available for the spring production.

BELL PEPPER: Cold temperatures in early January burned some leaves in the southwestern area with the following warmer weather aiding plant recovery. West Central growers finished fall crop harvesting in early January as picking continued in the Southwest and East Coast regions. West Central producers started spring crop planting around mid-January. Southwest growers finished planting in late February. Transplanting in the East Coast region remained active into late March as West Central growers finished. Harvesting in the Southwest and East Coast areas remained active throughout January, February, and March.

TOMATOES: Palmetto-Ruskin growers started spring crop transplanting in early January as fall crop harvesting finished. Dade County growers completed planting in late December. Transplanting in the Southwest ended about mid-February while East Coast producers continued planting until early March. Growers in the Quincy area started planting by mid- March. Cold temperatures in early January slowed crop development with some foliage suffering wind burn. Warmer temperatures during the rest of January and in February and most of March aided plant recovery. Cool temperatures during early March slowed fruit maturation and improved fruit set and sizing. Palmetto-Ruskin growers finished transplanting by late March.

WATERMELONS: The southern crop is planted and in fair to good condition. In central areas, planting is active. In the north, land preparations are active and planting is about ready to start. Soil conditions have been dry for dryland.


    The prospective area for harvest of 13 selected fresh market vegetables during the spring quarter is forecast at 232,800 acres, up 1 percent from last year. Acreage increases in broccoli, cauliflower, celery, head lettuce, and tomatoes more than offset decreases in snap beans, cab bage, carrots, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, esca role/endive, and bell peppers. Acreage for spring harvest of 3 selected melons is estimated at 112,800 acres, up slightly from last year. Cantaloups and honeydews showed increases from 1998 while watermelons showed a decrease. Aspara gus acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 73,100 acres, up slightly from last year and 2 percent greater in 1997.

BELL PEPPERS: In mid-January, West Central producers started spring crop planting. Southwest growers finished planting in late February.
TOMATOES: Intended acreage for harvest is forecast at 28,250 acres, up 8 percent from 1998. California acreage is up from last year and field operations have been progress ing normally. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys (where most of the tomatoes are grown) have experienced good rainfall. Imperial Valley on the other hand, has had low rainfall and cool temperatures which will slow development. In Texas, the crop looks good for areas that have been planted. For other areas, planting has been delayed because January and February were abnormally warm and very dry.

WATERMELONS: Acreage intended for harvest is estimated at 65,300 acres, down 7 percent from last year. Arizona producers have benefitted from excellent growing conditions during the first quarter of 1999. In California, conditions were favorable at the beginning of the season, but recent cool temperatures in March have slowed crop development. A delay of about 7 days is expected.

Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, spring quarter
by States, 1999 with comparisons.
Selected crops
and States
Spring acreage 1999 area
for harvest
as percent
of 1998
Harvested For
1997 1998
Acres Percent
   Florida Apr-Jun 13,000 15,000 14,000 93
  Georgia Apr-Jun 4,500 6,200 6,500 105
  New Jersey Jun-Jul 1,100 1,300 1,300 100
  South Carolina May-Aug 1,300 1,100 1,100 100
    Total 19,900 23,600 22,900 97
   Florida Apr-Jun 3,000 2,300 1,600 70
  Georgia Apr-Jun 3,500 4,000 4,000 100
  New Jersey Jun-Jul 1,000 1,000 900 90
  Texas Apr-Jun 1,100 1,200 800 67
    Total 8,600 8,500 7,300 86
   Florida Apr-Jul 2,400 1,500 -- --
  California Apr-Jun 20,000 25,000 24,000 96
  Texas Apr-Jun 500 1,300 1,700 131
    Total 22,900 27,800 25,700 92
   Florida Apr-Jul 31,800 28,900 26,400 91
  California Apr-Jun 10,800 12,300 11,800 96
    Total 42,600 41,200 38,200 93
   Florida Jan-Jun 6,700 5,700 5,200 91
  South Carolina May-Aug 1,000 1,200 1,200 100
  Texas Apr-Jun 600 600 600 100
    Total 8,300 7,500 7,000 93
   Florida Apr-Jul 700 700 500 71
   Florida Apr-Jul 600 600 350 58
  New Jersey May-Aug 400 400 400 100
    Total 1,000 1,000 750 75
   Florida Apr-Jun 7,500 7,300 6,600 90
  Texas Apr-Jun 300 300 400 133
    Total 7,800 7,600 7,000 92
   Florida Apr-Jul 13,100 13,800 14,200 103
  Alabama Jun-Jul 600 300 300 100
  Arkansas Jun-Aug 550 700 750 107
  California Apr-Jun 7,800 6,800 7,800 115
  South Carolina May-Jul 3,200 3,200 3,600 113
  Texas Apr-Jun 1,300 1,400 1,600 114
    Total 26,550 26,200 28,250 108
   Florida Apr-Jun 30,000 32,000 31,000 97
  Alabama Jun-Jul 2,100 2,200 2,300 105
  Arizona May-Jul 6,500 7,300 6,500 89
  California Apr-Jun 4,600 4,400 4,500 102
  Texas Apr-Jun 27,800 24,500 21,000 86
    Total 71,000 70,400 65,300 93
   Florida 108,800 107,800 99,850 93
  United States 209,350 214,500 202,900 95
  United States 2/ 337,750 342,400 345,600 101
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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