According to an Oct. 11 report from the California office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), acreage projections for some California fresh market vegetables and melons will increase in 2006.
Here is the latest commodity breakdown from NASS:
Broccoli - The acreage for 2006 fall harvest is forecast at 29,000 acres, down 2 percent from last year and 2004. Conditions have been favorable for crop development and growth. The crop was planted under good conditions with no major pests or disease problems reported.
Cantaloupe - Producers expect to harvest 5,000 acres, 9 percent above last year. The crop is progressing well, despite some growers struggling with whitefly infestation. Nationally, fall cantaloupe acreage for harvest is forecast at 12,500 acres, down 1 percent from 2005, but 47 percent above two years ago.
Carrots - Growers plan to harvest 16,500 acres, up 3 percent from 2005. Cooler weather this fall is providing excellent growing conditions. Nationally, acreage for the fresh market harvest is forecast at 16,700 acres, up 3 percent from last year and 24 percent above 2004.
Cauliflower - Acres for fall harvest are forecast at 8,900 acres, up 3 percent from last year and 11 percent above 2004. Seasonal weather allowed the fall crop to have near normal development. The quality is reported to be good.
Celery – According to NASS, California’s fall harvest acreage is forecast at 6,400 acres, down 6 percent from 2005 and 7 percent below 2004. The fall celery crop is reported to be in good condition in the central California coastal areas. However, hot weather in July negatively impacted the summer celery crop in Salinas, which resulted in lower production in September.
Sweet corn - Growers expect to harvest 4,600 acres for the October-December quarter, up 10 percent from last year. The crop is in good condition with no insect or disease problems reported. Nationally, fresh market acreage for harvest is forecast at 9,700 acres, up 8 percent from last year and 7 percent above 2004. In Florida, rainfall delayed some planting in the southern Peninsula during August and September. However, most plantings are on schedule.
Honeydews - Growers intend to harvest 2,400 acres during the October-December quarter, unchanged from the previous year. The crop is progressing well. However, growers have struggled with whitefly infestation and hope yields will not be affected. Nationally, fresh market acreage for fall harvest is forecast at 3,700 acres, up 19 percent from last year and 16 percent above 2004.
Head lettuce - Producers plan to harvest 30,000 acres, 3 percent below 2005. Fall lettuce fields were in various stages of planting. Fields were also being cultivated, irrigated, fertilized, and treated to control insects. Harvest is expected to transition from the Salinas growing district to the central San Joaquin Valley by mid-October. Nationally, acreage for fall harvest is forecast at 30,400 acres, down 3 percent from last year, but 3 percent above two years ago.
Tomatoes - Fresh market growers expect to harvest 10,300 acres through the October-December period, 6 percent below a year ago. Higher July heat shortened the transplanting season resulting in less acreage. Unseasonable rains produced by Hurricane John delayed field preparation and planting. Nationally, fresh market acreage for fall harvest is forecast at 22,100 acres, down 2 percent from 2005 and 4 percent below 2004.
Onions - California's 2006 summer storage onion production is estimated at 13.2 million cwt., 12 percent above 2005. The harvested area is expected to be 31,500 acres, 13 percent more than last year. The yield is estimated at 420 cwt. per acre, down 5 cwt. from the previous year. The planting of California’s storage onion crop was delayed due to rainfall. After planting, early mild temperatures and timely rains helped the crop to progress well. Some mildew problems were reported due to wet conditions. July’s high heat reduced some yields.