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 is no longer available.
WEATHER: Mostly dry weather prevailed in early October as
Hurricane Lili rushed northward through the Gulf pulling rains
away from the Peninsula. Fall crop harvesting in the central and
southern Peninsula got underway by early October with a light
volume of cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, squash and watermelons available. Tomato picking in the East Coast, Ruskin and
Immokalee areas began around mid-to-late month. By the end of
the month, sweet corn harvesting started in the Everglades and
snap bean picking began in northern areas. Warm weather
during the month delayed strawberry maturation with growers
nearly finishing transplanting by the end of the month.
Fall crop harvesting gained momentum as November arrived
with growers trying to meet the Thanksgiving Day demand.
Strawberry producers finished transplanting early in the month
and started picking very light supplies. Warm temperatures
hindered strawberry fruit development during the first half of the
month. Heavy rains around mid-month delayed field work,
especially around Immokalee, and lowered the quality and yield
prospects of some crops, especially tomatoes.
Cool temperatures prevailed over most localities during December. Freezes and frosts arrived in many localities, except for the
southern Peninsula, beginning in some Panhandle and northern
Peninsula areas during the first week. Most temperatures during
the month averaged from one to seven degrees below normal in
the major cities. The cooler temperatures aided the development
of strawberries. Storms crossing over the Panhandle and
Peninsula nearly every week brought abundant moisture to many
Panhandle and northern and central Peninsula localities. Some
southern Peninsula areas, especially those along the southeastern
coast, remained dry. The stronger storms lowered the quality
and yield prospects of some vegetables growing in the central
and southern Peninsula with most shipments below last year's
volume. The rains interrupted planting and picking schedules
throughout the month.
TOMATOES: Producers hope to harvest 12,600 acres during
the winter months of January, February and March, up 100 acres
from the acreage picked during the winter of 2002. Frequent
storms delayed some planting and lowered the yield prospects
during October through December. Most of the southern
Peninsula growing areas (Immokalee, Homestead, Jupiter and
Stuart) escaped freezing temperatures which were felt in many
Panhandle and northern and central Peninsula areas during
December. Picking remained active through most of October,
November and December with volume down slightly due to
SWEET CORN: Growers expect to pick 7,900 acres through
March, down 100 acres from the acreage harvested last winter.
The frequent rains during November and December boosted
growth and ear development. Picking is active.
BELL PEPPER: Producers expect to harvest 6,000 acres this
winter, up 400 acres or 7 percent from the 5,600 acres picked a
year ago. Frequent rainfall during October, November and
December interrupted some planting and harvesting activities,
and lowered yield prospects. Picking is active with volume
down a little from last year.
STRAWBERRIES: Strawberry acreage at 7,100 acres, is up
three percent from 2002. Harvest started near the middle of
November. Growers ran sprinklers during the cold period of
January 7th and 8th with some minor water damage reported.
Early volume is down from last year due partly to the switch to
later maturing varieties.
SNAP BEANS: Harvested acreage is expected to total 12,500
acres, up 500 acres from last year. Harvest is active with good
CABBAGE: Producers hope to cut 5,500 acres through March,
the same level as last year. Harvest is underway with no major
problems and the crop is in good condition.
The prospective area for harvest of 11 selected fresh market
vegetables during the winter quarter is forecast at 185,200 acres.
This is 4 percent above 2002 but 2 percent below 2001 for
comparable commodities. Acreage increases for snap beans,
broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, head lettuce, bell pepper,
spinach, and tomatoes more than offset decreases for carrots and
sweet corn. Celery acreage remained the same.
CABBAGE: Winter acreage for harvest is forecast at 13,200
acres, 6 percent above 2002 and 11 percent above 2001. Texas
cabbage production continues to flourish and yield is expected
to be good this season due to excellent weather conditions.
CARROTS: Winter harvested acreage is forecast at 23,500
acres, virtually unchanged from last year but 6 percent below
two years ago. The California crop is reported in good condition
with no major problems. High demand for baby carrots
continues. In Texas, growers are expecting better yields due to
a new hybrid carrot planted this season.
HEAD LETTUCE: Area for harvest is forecast at 67,000 acres,
up 4 percent from last year but virtually unchanged from two
years ago. Arizona growers are dealing with the typical pests
and diseases in the crop. In some areas, warm weather has
accelerated crop growth and caused marketing of the crop to
begin too early creating depressed prices. California's harvest
began early in some areas of the Imperial Valley. Harvest
typically runs December 15 through March 15, but began the
last week of November this year. The crop is reported in good
condition but wet conditions did slow field activity in some
areas the last two weeks of December.
STRAWBERRIES: Spring acreage in Michigan and Oregon is
forecast at 4,500 acres, unchanged from 2002 but 6 percent
below 2001. In Michigan, winter snowfall and temperatures
have been average to date. The crop in Oregon is progressing
well with no problems reported.
Selected Fresh Market Vegetables and Strawberries: Area for Harvest by Crop, State, and
Total, Winter Season, 2001-2002 and Forecasted Area 2003
|BELL PEPPER: 2/|
|TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED|
1/ Estimate discontinued in 2002.
2/ Includes fresh market and processing.