Summer fresh market vegetable and melon acreage

The prospective area for harvest of 11 selected fresh market vegetables during the summer quarter is forecast to be 282,400 acres, down 6 percent from last year. Acreage declines in snap beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet corn, head lettuce, and tomatoes more than offset acreage increases in carrots and celery.

Cucumbers and bell peppers harvested area remains unchanged. Area forecast for melon harvest is 109,900 acres, down 8 percent from last year. Cantaloupe area is forecast at 34,000 acres, 7 percent below 2007. Honeydew area, at 13,000 acres, is down 6 percent from last year. Watermelon area, at 62,900 acres, is 9 percent below a year ago.

Broccoli: California's area for summer harvest is forecast at 32,000 acres, down 3 percent from last year. Growing conditions have been ideal for the broccoli crop. No major pest or disease problems have been reported. Harvest is ongoing throughout the state. The crop is expected to be stable despite water supply concerns.

Cantaloupe: U.S. summer cantaloupe area for harvest is forecast at 34,000 acres, down 7 percent from 2007. California’s harvest was delayed in the Central Valley. Cool temperatures slowed fruit growth and some growers lost their first melon planting due to a mid-April frost. No major insect or disease problems have been reported. In Georgia, growers report the state has been too dry this growing season.

Carrots: Nationally, area for fresh market harvest is forecast at 21,600 acres, up 4 percent from last year. In California, carrots are in high demand. Warm spring temperatures boosted growing conditions. Harvest is underway with no major pest or disease problems reported. In Michigan, May’s rainfall in the west central part of the state was ideal for germinating carrots. Carrots emerged in most fields by late May and had reached the second to third true leaf stage by early June. Producers reported thinner than normal stands and behind normal growth during this stage of the season. Some carrots were lost to flooding during early June.

Cauliflower: California’s area for summer harvest is forecast at 8,600 acres, down 2 percent from 2007. Growing conditions have been ideal for the cauliflower crop. No major pest or disease problems have been reported. The crop is expected to be stable despite water supply concerns.

Celery: California's summer area for harvest is forecast at 6,400 acres, up 5 percent from 2007. The summer celery crop was in good condition during late June. Presence of seeders was minimal.

Corn: Nationally, fresh market area for harvest is forecast at 101,100 acres, down 3 percent from last year. In New York, the sweet corn crop is reported to be in good to excellent condition. In Pennsylvania, wet weather and cool temperatures delayed planting. In California, the sweet corn crop is in good condition. Some growers have put in wells to minimize the impact of surface water curtailments.

Honeydew: U.S. fresh market area for summer harvest is forecast at 13,000 acres, down 6 percent from last year. Harvest of the California crop was delayed in the Central Valley. Cool temperatures slowed fruit growth and some early melon planting was lost due to a mid-April frost. No major insect or disease problems have been reported. Harvest in Arizona began in mid-May. The growing season is expected to end by early July.

Lettuce: California’s area for summer harvest is forecast at 40,000 acres, down 7 percent from last year. Planted acreage is down due to strong competition from regional growing areas. However, adverse weather conditions in the Midwest have shifted more demand to California.

Tomatoes: U.S. fresh market area for summer harvest is forecast at 35,800 acres, down 6 percent from last year. In California, water shortages are a major concern. Early tomatoes have suffered wind damaged on the crown set in many fields.

Watermelon: Nationally, summer area for harvest is forecast at 62,900 acres, down 9 percent from 2007. In Georgia, producers report conditions has been too dry during this growing season. California’s harvest was delayed in the Central Valley. Some growers lost their first melon planting due to a mid-April frost. No major insect or disease problems have been reported.

Processing tomato acreage and tonnage intentions

In California, the processed tomato crop was slightly behind schedule. Transplanting of tomatoes began in early March. A frost in mid-April caused spotty damage to the crop in some areas of the state. Growers are expected to contract 277,000 acres, 7 percent less than in 2007. Contracted production is expected to be 11.7 million tons, 2 percent below a year ago.

Nationally, contracted production is forecast at 12.2 million tons, down 3 percent from last years comparable states. Area contracted, at 294,000 acres, is down 7 percent from 2007 for comparable states.

Onion acreage and production

Nationally, production of spring onions in 2008 is forecast at 11.0 million cwt., up 7 percent from last year. The crop is produced on 29,000 harvested acres. The average yield is 378 cwt. per acre, 48 cwt. above 2007. In Texas, a hard mid-December freeze adversely affected spring planting; however, yields are reported to be above average. In California, cool weather delayed plant growth.

Nationally, production of non-storage onions is forecast at 10.4 million cwt., down 9 percent from last year. Harvested area covers 19,600 acres, down 5 percent from 2007. In California, cool temperatures slowed development, which delayed harvest and produced low yields. In Southern California, non-storage onion growers reported water shortages throughout the area.

Nationally, growers expect to harvest 100,150 acres of storage onions this year, down 7 percent from last year. In California, cool temperatures slowed development, which delayed harvest and produced low yields. In Southern California, non-storage onion growers reported water shortages throughout the area.

The final tally of the U.S. 2007 storage onion production is 57.3 million cwt., up 1 percent from 2006. Harvested area, at 107,780 acres, is down 2 percent from 2006. Average yield of 532 cwt. per acre is 66 cwt. above 2006. The 2007 storage crop is valued at $298 million, a decrease of 57 percent from 2006. Average price per cwt. decreased from $15.20 in 2006 to $5.85 in 2007. With spring and non-storage summer onions added in, total value of the 2007 harvested onions is $820 million, down 22 percent from 2006.