This report reflects conditions as of January 1 and repre sents acreage for harvest during the winter months of January, February, March. Estimated acreage for harvest by growing area is no longer available.
WEATHER: Dry weather returned during October with the
harvesting of very light amounts of cucumbers, eggplant, okra,
peppers, squash and watermelons active during most of the
month. Frequent rains in the Homestead area during the month
reduced the effectiveness of pesticides, thus increasing insect
populations. Sweet corn picking started during mid to late
October in the Everglades region. Dry conditions continued
during most of November and December prompting producers
to irrigate in drier areas of the central and southern Peninsula.
Strawberry growers finished most transplanting by early
November and started picking light amounts of berries by
Thanksgiving Day. Temperatures remained warm during the
first half of November but dipped to freezing levels in many
Panhandle and northern and central Peninsula localities beginning in late November and continuing through most of December. The cooler temperatures aided strawberry development
around Plant City but brought most Panhandle and northern
Peninsula harvesting to an end by early December. Snap bean
picking increased slowly during November as more acreage
reached maturity. Tomato harvesting gained momentum in the
Palmetto-Ruskin, Immokalee and East Coast growing areas.
Potato field preparations continued around Hastings during the
month with planting active by the end. Harvesting of leafy crops
got underway during late November in the Everglades and in
some central Peninsula localities. Cabbage cutting and broccoli
harvesting remained active in the Hastings area during December. By mid-December northern growers started land preparations for the planting of spring crop watermelons. Heavy rains
in some central and southern Peninsula localities near mid-
month slowed planting and lowered the quality of the more
tender crops. In late December, light frosts and freezes occurred
in some central and southern Peninsula localities. The cooler
temperatures brought fall crop okra harvesting to an end in
Miami-Dade County as snap bean picking got underway. Celery
cutting became active in the Everglades area during late
Tomatoes: Producers expect to pick 12,000 acres during the
winter months of January, February and March, down 600 acres
or about five percent from last winter. Mostly clear, warm
weather during October, November and December boosted
growth and development and allowed planting and harvesting to
proceed normally. Picking in the Quincy area remained active
throughout October and most of November. Growers in the
Palmetto-Ruskin, East Coast and Immokalee areas began
harvesting in mid to late November. Spotty but heavy rains
falling in the Palmetto-Ruskin region and a few southern
Peninsula areas around mid-December caused no significant
damage but lowered some fruit quality.
Sweet Corn: Growers hope to pick 8,400 acres for the winter
crop, up 500 acres or six percent from last winter. Mostly dry
weather during October, November and December permitted
growers to keep planting on schedule. Picking started in mid to
Bell Pepper: Acreage to be harvested for the winter crop is set
at 5,100 acres, down 700 acres or 12 percent from last year,
Mostly dry and warm weather over the central and southern
Peninsula aided crop development and allowed planting to
proceed on schedule during October through most of December.
Most acreage escaped significant damage from spotty but heavy
rains falling in the Palmetto-Ruskin region and over a few
southern Peninsula localities after mid-December. Harvesting
remained active as growers fulfilled holiday market demands.
Strawberries: Strawberry acreage at 7,100 acres is the same
as last year. Planting this year was mostly normal and good
weather has followed. The crop looks good. Current cool
weather is making berries sweeter and growers are expecting a
Snap Beans: Harvested acreage is forecast at 11,000 acres,
down 600 acres from last year. Cool, wet weather slowed
harvesting of the crop with shipments reported down so far this
Cabbage: Growers intend to harvest 5,300 acres of cabbage
through March, the same as last year. Harvesting recently started
and is running behind last year. Cooler weather slowed the crop
progression and shipments are just beginning. The crop appears
to be in good shape with no major problems reported.
The prospective area for harvest of 11 selected fresh market
vegetables during the winter quarter is forecast at 181,400 acres.
This is 1 percent above 2003 but 1 percent below 2002.
Acreage increases for broccoli, sweet corn, cauliflower, cabbage, head lettuce and celery more than offset decreases for Bell
pepper, spinach, snap beans, tomatoes, and carrots. Strawberry
acreage planted for major States (Florida, Michigan, and
Oregon) in 2004 is forecast at 11,700, down 2 percent from the
same States in 2003.
Cabbage: Winter acreage for harvest is forecast at 12,500
acres, 2 percent above 2003 and up 1 percent from 2002.
Celery: The winter celery crop for harvest in California is
forecast at 7,600 acres, up 1 percent from last year and the year
before. The quality of the celery crop is good with no pest or
disease problems. Hot weather in October could delay thesouthern California desert harvest by a couple of weeks. Yields
are reported as being normal to above normal in most growing
areas of the central coast.
Head Lettuce: Area for harvest is forecast at 63,500 acres, up 1 percent from last year but 2 percent below two years ago. Growing conditions in western Arizona have varied greatly. During the growing season, above average temperatures resulted in seeders and some fields being plowed under. Conditions returned to normal for a week or two and then temperatures dropped below average resulting in a drop in production. California growers in the Imperial Valley experienced cool nighttime temperatures during December 2003 which hindered crop development. Harvest progressed more slowly than usual as a result. However, warmer weather followed causing accelerated growth of the lettuce crop and increased supplies.
Selected Fresh Market Vegetables and Strawberries: Area for Harvest by Crop, State, and
Total, Winter Season, 2002-2003 and Forecasted Area 2004
|BELL PEPPER: 1/|
|TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED|
|1/ Includes fresh market and processing.|