Aug 31, 2017US asparagus crop down slightly, but up in Michigan
The 2017 U.S. asparagus crop is down just 1 percent from last year, but up in Michigan according to numbers released this week by the USDA.
In 2017, the national crop totaled 701,000 cwt, or 39,256 tons. Although the total weight of the harvest was just 1 percent below the previous year, the area harvested, at 20,800 acres, is down 5 percent from last year’s 22,000 acres.
Fresh production, at 549,000 cwt, is up 1 percent from 2016, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Processed production, at 7,460 tons, is down 6 percent from last year.
In Michigan, the harvest was noticeably above last year’s production. The state’s crop totaled 243,000 cwt, up 5.6 percent from 2016. The area harvested for fresh market and processing was 9,000 acres, down 200 acres from 2016. Yield, at 27 cwt per acre, was up 2 cwt per acre from the previous year. Michigan’s total asparagus crop was valued at $20.9 million, up 3.7 percent from 2016.
Michigan’s increase came although the first cutting was damaged by an early May frost, MLive.com reported.
About 120 Michigan growers produce asparagus in sandy loam soil near the west coast, especially in Oceana County, according to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board’s website. A 6-7 week harvest runs from early May until mid-to-late June.
Production in California was slightly down, from 208,000 cwt to 205,000 cwt, as it was in Washington (211,000 cwt to 205,000 cwt) and New Jersey (56,000 cwt to 48,000 cwt).
— Stephen Kloosterman, Vegetable Growers News Assistant Editor