The prospective area for harvest of 11 selected fresh market vegetables during the summer quarter is estimated to be 305,400 acres, up less than 1 percent from last year. Acreage increases in celery, broccoli, sweet corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, snap beans, and carrots more than offset acreage decreases in head lettuce, cauliflower, cucumbers, and cabbage.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says area estimated for melon harvest is 110,100 acres, down 2 percent from last year. Cantaloupe area is estimated at 41,200 acres, 5 percent below 2004. Honeydew area, at 14,800 acres, is up 7 percent from last year. Watermelon area, at 54,100 acres, is 3 percent below a year ago.
Broccoli: California's acreage for summer harvest is estimated at 36,600 acres, up 3 percent from last year. Broccoli planting schedules began to recover from the frequent spring rains, which tapered off in May. Cool weather in early May slowed development, but warmer temperatures in June stimulated growth. No major pest or disease problems have been reported.
Cantaloupe: Summer cantaloupe acreage for harvest nationally is estimated at 41,200 acres, down 5 percent from 2004. California's summer melon crop will be harvested from July through September. Cool temperatures slowed maturity, but excellent quality has been reported.
Georgia received excessive rainfall this season. Growers report the crop is in fair to good condition. Development of the South Carolina melon crop was slowed by cooler than normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. Growing conditions in Texas have been excellent with a dry spring and very few reports of disease or weather problems. However, increased competition from Mexico has weakened the Texas market, causing some growers to leave melons unharvested in the fields.
Carrots: U.S. acreage for fresh market harvest is estimated at 19,000 acres, up 1 percent from last year. California's crop is progressing well as a result of favorable growing conditions. Baby carrots are still in high demand and there is a growing demand for value added snack pack products.
Cauliflower: California's acreage for summer harvest is estimated at 8,500 acres, down 6 percent from 2004. Cool weather in early May slowed development, but warmer temperatures in June stimulated growth. No major pest or disease problems have been reported.
Celery: California's summer acreage for harvest is estimated at 5,900 acres, up 4 percent from 2004. In Oxnard, heavy rainfall earlier in the year caused pith and plants to go to seed. There was also an abundance of large celery sizes late in the season. Oxnard production was winding down in mid to late June. Celery production has picked up in the Salinas area with the summer crop in good condition.
Corn, sweet: Fresh market acreage for harvest nationally is estimated at 114,800 acres, up 3 percent from last year. In California, the summer sweet corn crop in the central and northern San Joaquin Valley was doing well, but lower than normal temperatures may reduce yields
Honeydew: Total fresh market acreage for summer harvest is estimated at 14,800 acres, up 7 percent from last year. Melons in Arizona did well this year despite early season cool nights and sporadic hot days. The sugar content is slightly lower this year. Harvest of the summer crop is complete. California's crop will be harvested from July to September. Cool temperatures slowed maturity, but excellent quality has been reported.
Lettuce, head: U.S. acreage for summer harvest is estimated at 44,800 acres, down 9 percent from last year. California's planting conditions have been normal for the summer crop. No significant delays or other problems have been noted. However, greater competition in the lettuce market is prompting growers to cut back on summer acreage this year.
Colorado's lettuce crop is progressing normally. Most lettuce is grown in the San Luis Valley and is irrigated. Irrigation water is expected to be sufficient, but operators are being conservative with its use.
Tomatoes: Fresh market acreage for summer harvest nationally is estimated at 37,600 acres, up 3 percent from last year. California's summer crop was planted with no major problems reported. The fresh tomato market has been steady, but slow growth of the spring crop led to an increase in demand, especially for the Roma variety.
Watermelon: Total summer acreage for harvest is estimated at 54,100 acres, down 3 percent from 2004. California melon quality is excellent. However, development was slow, due to cool temperatures. Harvest of the summer crop was to have begun in July.
The Texas watermelon crop is doing well this season with excellent growing conditions and high quality reported.
In California, unseasonable rains have delayed planting of processing tomatoes. Tomatoes that were planted early matured on schedule in July. Growers were expected to contract 265,000 acres, 10 percent less than in 2004. Contracted production was expected to be 10.4 million tons, down 8 percent from last year.
Nationally, contracted production is forecast at 11 million tons, down 8 percent from last year's comparable states.
Production of summer non-storage onions is forecast at 10.9 million hundredweight, down 10 percent from last year. Harvested area covers 22,400 acres, down 3 percent from 2004.
California non-storage summer onion growers noted rain delays during planting. Mildew problems were reported due to the wet conditions.
Growers expect to harvest 102,920 acres of summer storage onions this year, down 5 percent from last year for comparable states. In California, rain delayed planting of the summer onion crop. Some acreage was not planted due to wet conditions. Lower yields are expected because of disease and mildew problems.