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(January, February, March)
January 16, 2001

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


This report reflects conditions as of January 1 and represents acreage for harvest during the winter months of January, February, March. Estimated acreage for harvest by growing area includes the acreage that may be abandoned due to recent freezes and is presented in order: area, previous year (2000), current year (2001).

WEATHER: A sub-tropical low that formed in the Florida Straits in early October brought significant amounts of rain to Vero Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Ft. Lauderdale, Homestead, and Tavernier with monthly totals ranging from six to thirteen inches. Elsewhere, rainfall was mostly limited to an inch and a third or less except for three to four inches reported in St. Augustine and Canal Point. Live Oak reported no measurable rain for the month and St. Leo recorded only traces. October rainfall was mostly an inch to over three inches below normal. Temperatures during October were mostly one to four degrees below normal. October minimum low tempera tures were in the 50s, 60s and 70s with the Crestview airport recording at least one low at 49 degrees. Cool, dry weather continued into November. Temperatures at the major stations averaged normal to three degrees below. Most low temperatures were in the 50s, 60s and 70s while most high temperatures averaged in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Jacksonville, Pensacola and Tallahassee recorded at least one low in the 20s. November rainfall totals ranged from none at Ft. Myers to over eight inches at Pensacola. Dry conditions persisted during December with rains at the major stations totaling from traces at Melbourne to about six inches at Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Homestead recorded from two to fifteen inches which nearly all fell on only one day during early December. These heavy showers de- stroyed the winter potato crop in Dade County. Frost and freezing temperatures dipped into some central Peninsula localities after mid- December with temperatures plummeting into the 30s at Homestead and the 20s at Immokalee during the first week of the new year. These freezes caused significant damage to vegetables with actual losses currently being evaluated.

TOMATOES: Mostly dry weather during October, November and December provided nearly ideal planting and harvesting weather. The heavy rains in Dade County during early December caused no significant harm to the crop. Strong winds tossed vines in the Southwest and East Coast regions, and in Dade County, about mid- December with no significant damage reported. Picking in southwest ern and southeastern localities remained mostly steady during December and into January. Dade County producers started picking a small acreage during late December with volume increasing in early to mid-January. Dade County growers ran irrigation to protect plants from freeze damage during early January. Southwestern producers picked fruit from fields damaged by the early January cold. Freeze damage around Immokalee to foliage was significant with younger plants receiving less damage than older plants. Southwestern growers kept fields as wet as possible to aid plant recovery after the freeze. Some plants in the East Coast region showed cold damage to the tops of plants while other plants in warmer spots were not affected. However, yield prospects were reduced by strong, cold winds accompanying the freeze which increased bloom drop. The following estimates include the acreage that may be abandoned due to recent freezes. (Southwest, 9,000, 10,000; Dade, 2,800, 2,900; East Coast, 2,100, 2,000; All areas, 13,900, 14,900)

SWEET CORN: Planting started during early November in Dade County and became more active during late December in the East Coast region. Picking in the Everglades area gained momentum during early December. Oldest plants were tasseling in Dade County by early December when a storm brought heavy rain to acreage in east Homestead. However, the crop suffered no significant damage from this rain with plants recovering by mid-month. A few Dade County fields contained small ears by mid-December. Cool temperatures in the East Coast region near mid-month caused no significant damage to the crop. However, temperatures reached down into the 20s in some pockets of the Everglades region during the new year freezes. These cold temperatures caused some major losses with actual damage currently being evaluated. Dade County producers started harvesting by the new year. The following estimates include the acreage that may be abandoned due to recent freezes. (East Coast and Dade County, 6,100, 5,800; Everglades and other, 1,300, 2,700; All areas, 7,400, 8,500)

BELL PEPPER: Dry weather during October, November and December provided nearly ideal conditions for winter crop planting. Cold temperatures and strong winds around mid-December caused no significant damage to the crop. Picking in the Southwest and East Coast regions remained steady during December and into the new year. Producers used freeze covers as protection from the very cold temperatures during the first week of the new year with most plants saved. Some uncovered plants show foliage damage to the tops with actual loss currently being measured. The following estimates include the acreage that may be abandoned due to recent freezes. (Southwest and Central, 1,900, 1,400; Southeast, 2,900, 3,100; All areas, 4,800, 4,500)

CABBAGE: The cabbage crop is in good condition. The cold temperatures on December 31 and January 1 did no major damage to the crop. Harvest is active. Quality and head size are good. (All areas, 3,000, 1,000)

EGGPLANT: Crop conditions were good until the cold weather at the end of December and early January. Freeze covers were used in some areas to protect the plants. Uncovered foliage suffered varying amounts of damage. Crop condition ranges from poor to good. Harvesting is underway. (All areas, 600, 500)

SNAP BEANS: The crop is in poor condition. The cold temperatures burned the top leaves on snap bean plants. Most plants are expected to recover. The very cool temperatures are slowing growth and development. Actual losses are currently being assessed. (All areas, 9,500, 11,000)

STRAWBERRIES: Crop production has proceeded at a slower pace than last season due to some growers switching to later producing varieties. Harvest started in late November. Growers irrigated plants and immature fruit as protection from the recent cold with wet fields slowing some picking in early January. Picking is active with fair to good quality available. (All areas, 6,300, 6,500)


    The prospective area for harvest of 13 selected fresh market vegetables during the winter quarter is forecast at 193,000 acres. This is 2 percent below 2000 but 2 percent above 1999. Acreage decreases in broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, head lettuce, bell peppers, and spinach more than offset increases in snap beans, celery, sweet corn, escarole/endive, and tomatoes.

CABBAGE: Winter acreage for harvest is forecast at 7,900, 27 percent below 2000 and 39 percent below 1999. In most areas of Texas, rain has been plentiful. The Rio Grande Valley crops are progressing well under favorable weather conditions. Rains in the San Antonio/Winter Garden areas delayed planting but actually benefitted acreage already planted.

Selected Fresh Market Vegetables and Strawberries: Area for Harvest by Crop,
State, and Total, Winter Season, 1999-2001
Selected crops
and States
Winter acreage 2001area
for harvest
as percent
of 2000
Harvested For
1999 2000
Acres Percent
  Florida Jan-Mar 9,500 9,500 11,000 116
  Florida Jan-Mar 6,000 3,000 1,000 33
  Texas Dec-Mar 7,000 7,800 6,900 88
    Total 13,000 10,800 7,900 73
  Florida Jan-Mar 5,900 7,400 8,500 115
  Florida Jan-Mar 700 600 500 83
  Florida Jan-Mar 750 600 900 150
  Florida Jan-Mar 5,000 4,800 4,500 94
  Florida Jan-Mar 15,900 13,900 14,900 107
  California Jan-Mar 22,000 23,000 23,000 100
  Texas Dec-Mar 2,800 3,500 3,000 86
    Total 24,800 26,500 26,000 98
  Arizona--Western Nov-Apr 44,000 50,300 50,300 100
  California Jan-Mar 19,000 19,500 18,200 93
    Total 63,000 69,800 68,500 98
  California Jan-Mar 31,500 31,000 30,000 97
  California Jan-Mar 10,000 11,500 10,500 91
  California Jan-Mar 7,800 7,500 7,700 103
  Texas Dec-Mar 2,100 2,600 2,100 81
  Florida 43,750 39,800 41,300 104
  United States 189,950 196,500 193,000 98
  Florida Dec-May 6,200 6,300 6,500 103
1/ Includes fresh market and processing.
2/ Not published to avoid disclosure.

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