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Missouri Vegetable Survey 2001

Missouri vegetable sales amounted to over 32 million dollars during 2001. The sales value was reported by commercial producers who participated in a survey conducted by the Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service and the University of Missouri. Home garden production for private use was excluded from the survey and no allowance for incompleteness was made for growers who did not participate. Acres reported in commercial vegetable production totaled 35,650, therefore averaging about $900 sales value per acre. Approximately 65 percent of the vegetable acreage was irrigated. Eighteen percent of the growers reported producing some of their vegetables using organic practices on 234 acres.

The largest vegetable planted acreages reported in the survey included cucumbers, 8,954 acres; potatoes, 6,200 acres; watermelons, 5,500 acres; snapbeans, 4,905 acres; southern peas, 4,497 acres; pumpkins, 1,457 acres; sweet corn, 1,371 acres, and cantaloupe, 946 acres (Figure 1). Crops grown on area between 200 and 300 acres statewide include lima beans and summer squash. Tomatoes, cabbage, winter squash and gourds were each grown on between 100 and 200 acres.

Included in the 50 to 99 acre size are sweet potatoes, turnips and onions. Greens, bell peppers and asparagus fall in the 25 to 49 acre group. Other vegetables reported in the survey, but with less than 25 acres each include the following: eggplant, hot peppers, okra, beets, ornamental corn, peas (shell and snow), cauliflower, broccoli, kale, leaf lettuce, leeks, collards, green onions, kohlarabi, garlic, carrots, radishes, horseradish, brussel sprouts and shallots.

About 52 percent of the vegetable production, by value, was sold direct to processors, which involved primarily potatoes, cucumbers and snapbeans (Figure 2). Other leading methods of marketing included wholesale brokers, 25 percent; farm retail market, 9 percent (includes roadside stands and direct to consumer in addition to all retailing at the farm including pick-your-own); farmers markets, 7 percent; and direct store delivery, 6 percent. Other types of marketing such as direct to restaurants, peddlers, etc. accounted for less than 1 percent.

Dunklin County was the largest vegetable-producing county by area with 9,995 acres in the survey, followed by Mississippi with 6,442 acres (Figure 3). Other leading counties were: Barton, 5,017 acres, Newton, 3,117 acres, and Jasper, 2,337 acres.

The 426 respondents in the survey who had vegetable production in 2001 averaged 52.7 years of age and had 14 years of experience producing vegetables (Figure 4).

Figure 1 Figure 1:  Ten Leading Vegetable Crops Figure 2 Figure 2:  Percent Sales by Marketing Method Figure 3 Figure 3:  Leading Vegetable Producing Counties Figure 4 Figure 4:  Vegetable Producers by Age Group