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(January, February, March)

January 21, 1998

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 areas is presented in order: area, previous year (1997), current year (1998).

WEATHER: Dry, warm conditions in most areas during October helped the growth and development of crops. Temperatures during October were mostly normal until the end of the month as a cold front started crossing the State. Cold fronts contin ued to cross the State about every two weeks through late December, bringing abundant rain to many localities with some fields flooded. Strong winds accompanying some of these storms tossed plants with wind borne sand scarring some fruit. Frost brought harvesting to an end in most northern localities after mid-November. December temperatures were normal during the first two weeks, but plunged three to six degrees below normal after mid-month. During the last full week of December rain interrupted harvesting in most central and some southern areas as temperatures climbed six to nine degrees above normal. Late December temperatures fell to freezing levels in many western Panhandle, northern Peninsula, and some central Peninsula localities. Warmer, clearer weather arrived by early January boosting plant growth and develop ment and accelerating harvesting over the southern Peninsula. However, heavy rains fell in some western Panhandle localities during the first week of January.

TOMATOES: Mostly cooler temperatures during late October, and all of November and December aided the setting of fruit but slowed fruit sizing in most southern Peninsula fields. Southwestern, Palmetto-Ruskin, and East Coast growers started picking during the last half of October. Storms during late October and the first half of November scarred some fruit in the southwestern and west central regions and slowed harvesting around Quincy and the Palmetto-Ruskin area. Heavy rainfall from these storms reduced the effectiveness of pesticides with producers actively spraying during clearer weather. Frost around Quincy after mid-November brought harvesting to an end. Rainfall during late November and the first half of December delayed some harvesting and reduced the quality for a limited volume of future pickings. Dade County growers began picking a small volume from the winter acreage by early December. Wet fields around mid-December delayed land preparations for spring crop transplanting in Palmetto-Ruskin. The volume harvested in the Southwest region reached the peak level in late December. East Coast growers were making first through fourth picks in late Decem ber with a steady volume available. Palmetto-Ruskin producers harvested most of the fall crop by the end of December. (Southwest, 6,200, 6,700; Dade, 2,700, 3,300; East Coast, 1,900, 1,900; all areas, 10,800, 11,900)

SNAP BEANS: Wet weather in December slowed plantings and the development of the winter crop. In Dade, the old fields had not recovered fully from the effects of the wind and rain in early January. The young fields were in good condition. The East Coast crop was in mostly good condition with beans of good quality and color being harvested. In the southwest, the crop was in fair to good condition with beans of fair to good quality being harvested. Some wind damage lowered quality in the Southwest. (All areas, 10,000, 10,000)

STRAWBERRIES: Strawberry crop development proceeded more slowly this year due to the record heavy rainfall during the month of December. Harvest started in December but was interrupted by rain. Production volume was at the same level as last year. (All areas, 6,100, 6,200)

SWEET CORN: Heavy rainfall during late September caused some quality reduction for acreage around Lake Okeechobee, but benefitted plant growth and ear development in fields around Lake Apopka. Winter crop seeding in Dade County began after mid-October. Strong winds accompanying late October storms blew over some plants around Zellwood. Planting was active during November in the East Coast region and in Dade County. In early December, rain flooded some Dade County fields containing very young plants with most recovering. Picking started in the Zellwood area during early October with activity continuing through early December. In the Everglades, harvesting began in late October. Growers along the southeastern coast started picking after mid-Decem ber. Southwestern producers harvested a limited acreage from late November through late December. Dade County growers started picking the winter crop in early January. (East Coast and Dade County, 3,600, 5,100; Everglades and other, 700, 1,400; all areas, 4,300, 6,500)

CARROTS: Producers around Lake Apopka were planting by early September. Significant rainfall caused virtually no lingering damage during August and September. Normal to above normal temperatures for most of October accelerated growth. Heavy rains in late October and several storms during November and December interrupted some fieldwork and caused significant losses due to flooding. Digging began in early December. (All areas, 4,600, 5,000)

BELL PEPPER: Although rainfall during late October and storms in November and December interrupted some field work, the crop sustained no significant damage. Planting continued during October, November, and December in the Southeast and Southwest. Picking of the fall crop acreage began in the East Coast region about mid-October while west central and southwestern localities started harvesting during late October and early November. (Southeast, 3,000, 3,000; Southwest and Central, 1,800, 1,200; all areas, 4,800, 4,200)

CABBAGE: Wet weather in December delayed planting. In some flooded fields rot became a problem. Rains in January slowed planting and harvest. (North, Hastings, 1,300, 2,000; other areas, 2,700, 3,500; all areas, 4,000, 5,500)

ESCAROLE-ENDIVE: Normal to above normal temperatures for most of October accelerated growth. Harvesting started in late October in the Zellwood area and during early November around Lake Okeechobee. Significant storms during late October and all of November and December interrupted some fieldwork with quality reduced for a small portion of produc tion. (All area, 600, 800)

EGGPLANT: Weather and growing conditions were mostly favorable for eggplant. Plants produced good grades, but a light volume. (All areas, 700, 600)


    The prospective area for harvest of 13 selected fresh market vegetables during the winter quarter is forecast at 188,100 acres. This is 4 percent less than last year's acreage of 189,100 acres and 5 percent less than the 197,350 acres harvested in 1996. Acreage declines in carrots, eggplant, head lettuce, and bell peppers more than offset acreage increases in broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, escarole/endive, spinach, and tomatoes. Head lettuce, carrots, and bell peppers showed the largest acreage decreases, while sweet corn, tomatoes, and broccoli had the largest acreage increases.

Selected Fresh Market Vegetables: Area for Harvest by Crop, State, and
Total, Winter Season, 1996-98
Selected crops
and States
Winter acreage 1998 area
for harvest
as percent
of 1997
Harvested For
1996 1997
Acres Percent
    Florida Jan-Mar 10,000 10,000 10,000 100
    Florida Jan-Mar 5,000 4,000 5,500 138
    Texas Jan-Mar 8,500 6,300 6,500 103
        Total 13,500 10,300 12,000 117
    California Jan-Mar 21,500 23,000 18,200 79
    Florida Nov-Mar 3,800 4,600 5,000 109
    Texas Dec-Mar 3,400 2,400 3,500 146
        Total 28,700 30,000 26,700 89
    Florida Jan-Mar 5,800 4,300 6,500 151
    Florida Jan-Mar 600 700 600 86
    Florida Jan-Mar 850 600 800 133
    Florida Jan-Mar 6,000 4,800 4,200 88
    Florida Jan-Mar 11,700 10,800 11,900 110
    Florida Dec-May 6,000 6,100 6,200 102
    Arizona--Western Nov-Apr 57,000 51,800 46,000 89
    California Jan-Apr 16,500 17,000 17,500 103
        Total 73,500 68,800 63,500 92
    California Jan-Mar 29,000 30,000 31,000 103
    California Jan-Mar 8,500 9,500 9,800 103
    California Jan-Mar 6,400 6,900 7,800 113
    Texas Jan-Mar 2,800 2,400 3,300 138
    Florida 2/ 49,750 45,900 50,700 110
    United States 3/ 203,350 195,200 194,300 100
1/ Includes fresh market and processing.
2/ Total of snap beans, cabbage, carrots, sweet corn, eggplant, escarole/endive, Bell peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries.
3/ Total of snap beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, eggplant, escarole/endive, head lettuce, Bell pepper, spinach, strawberries, and tomatoes.

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