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WINTER ACREAGE   (January, February, March)
January 15, 2002

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


This report reflects conditions as of January 1 and repre sents acreage for harvest during the winter months of Janu ary, February, March. Therefore, the estimated acreage for harvest includes the acreage, if any, that may be abandoned due to recent freezes in some areas of the State.

WEATHER: Warm temperatures and mostly clear conditions boosted plant growth and allowed planting and harvesting to proceed at a normal pace from October through most of Decem ber. October temperatures averaged from over four degrees below normal at Brooksville to almost two degrees above at Vero Beach with most southern locations above normal and northern localities, below. Rainfall was spotty during October and ranged from traces at Gainesville to over fourteen inches at Perrine. The western Panhandle and northern counties were mostly drier during October than southern regions. November temperatures at the major stations averaged from normal to four degrees above. November rainfall at the major stations totaled from traces at Tampa and St. Petersburg to almost seven inches at Daytona Beach. Hot temperatures persisted throughout most of December. Spotty showers brought significant rains to a few scattered localities. However, most areas remained dry until a storm front crossing the State dropped up to a half inch at the end of December. This front also caused temperatures to fall to freezing levels over most of the Panhandle and northern Peninsula, and brought some frost to a few central localities. December rains at the major stations totaled from about half an inch at Orlando to over three inches at West Palm Beach, Miami and Jacksonville. Temperatures during December at the major stations averaged three to seven degrees above normal. How ever, Jacksonville, Pensacola and Tallahassee recorded at least one low in the 20s, and Melbourne, Orlando and Daytona Beach reported at least one low in the 30s. Lowest temperatures over central and southern areas were felt during the last full week of December. The mild conditions for most of December allowed field work to stay on schedule and hastened the ripening of vegetables. The oldest strawberry plants ripened about two weeks ahead of normal. Vegetable harvesting continued at a steady pace for most of December. Cold temperatures persisted into early January but caused no significant damage to vegeta bles. However, sand blowing across fields during early January reduced some fruit quality.

TOMATOES: Warm temperatures and mostly clear conditions boosted plant growth and allowed planting and harvesting to proceed at a normal pace during October through most of December. Dade County and other southern Peninsula areas reported no significant damage when Hurricane Michelle passed through the Florida Straits in early November. Blowing sand powered by strong winds off the Atlantic Ocean caused some quality reductions after mid-November. Milder weather during most of December yielded some very good quality fruit. Temperatures plunged to freezing levels in late December and early January in many northern and central localities. However, the crop escaped significant damage due to the short duration of the colder temperatures and the southern location of acreage, around Immokalee, Jupiter, Stuart and Homestead. Gusty winds during early January blew sand which reduced some quality. Producers hope to harvest 12,500 acres during the winter months of January, February and March, down 1,500 acres or almost 11 percent from the 14,000 acres picked during the winter of 2001.

SWEET CORN: Mostly mild conditions during November and December allowed planting around Homestead to progress normally with planting finished by mid-December. The Dade County and East Coast acreage escaped significant damage from colder weather that arrived in late December and early January. Harvesting started in Dade County in late December. Growers expect to pick 8,000 acres through March, up 600 acres or 8 percent from the 7,400 acres harvested last winter.

BELL PEPPER: Mostly mild weather from October through December increased plant growth and fruit development and allowed planting to proceed at a normal pace in the growing areas around Immokalee, Jupiter and Stuart. Strong winds from the Atlantic caused some bud and bloom drop in the East Coast region during early October with plants recovering well. Temperatures dipped to near freezing levels in late December and early January with no significant damage occurring due to the short duration of the cold weather. Blowing sand caused by gusty winds in early January lowered some quality. Producers expect to harvest 5,600 acres this winter, up 1,200 acres from the 4,400 acres picked a year ago.

STRAWBERRIES: Strawberry acreage is up six percent from 2001. Harvest started near the end of November. The warmer fall weather increased foliage growth and hindered the amount of fruit developed. However, fruit ripened about two weeks earlier than normal causing the season-to-date volume to be up. Growers are hoping for some cool weather to produce more fruit.

SNAP BEANS: Harvested acreage is expected to total 12,000 acres, up 1,000 acres or nine percent from the 11,000 acres picked in the winter of 2001. The crop is in mostly good condition. Harvesting is underway with good quality and volume.

CABBAGE: Producers hope to cut 2,500 acres through March, up 500 acres from the 2,000 acres picked last year. Harvest is active. The crop is in good condition.

EGGPLANT: Harvested acreage is set at 500 acres, equal to the acreage picked in the winter of 2001. Crop condition and quality are good. Harvest is active.


  The prospective area for harvest of 12 selected fresh market vegetables during the winter quarter is forecast at 179,700 acres. This is 6 percent below 2001 and 8 percent below 2000. Acreage decreases in broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, head lettuce, spinach and tomatoes more than offset acreage increases in snap beans, cabbage, celery, sweet corn, and bell peppers. Eggplant acreage remains unchanged.

Selected Fresh Market Vegetables and Strawberries: Area for Harvest by Crop, State, and
Total, Winter Season, 2000-2001 and Forecasted Area 2002
Selected crops
and States
Winter acreage 2002 area
for harvest
as percent
of 2001
Harvested For
2000 2001
  Acres Percent
  Florida Jan-Mar 9,500 11,000 12,000 109
  Florida Jan-Mar 3,000 2,000 2,500 125
  Texas Dec-Mar 7,800 6,900 8,500 123
    Total 10,800 8,900 11,000 124
  Florida Jan-Mar 7,400 7,400 8,000 108
  Florida Jan-Mar 600 500 500 100
  Florida Jan-Mar 4,800 4,400 5,600 127
  Florida Jan-Mar 13,900 14,000 12,500 89
  California Jan-Mar 23,000 23,000 21,500 93
  Texas Dec-Mar 3,500 2,800 2,200 79
    Total 26,500 25,800 23,700 92
  Arizona--Western Nov-Apr 50,300 51,800 50,000 97
  California Jan-Mar 17,000 16,000 16,000 100
    Total 67,300 67,800 66,000 97
  California Jan-Mar 33,00 31,000 22,000 71
  California Jan-Mar 11,500 10,500 8,500 81
  California Jan-Mar 7,500 7,700 7,900 103
  Texas Dec-Mar 2,600 2,100 2,000 95
  Florida 39,200 39,300 41,100 105
  United States 195,400 191,100 179,700 94
  Florida Dec-May 6,300 6,500 6,900 106
1/ Includes fresh market and processing.

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