Feb 19, 2018
3 states produced 76 percent of U.S. veggies in 2017

Just three states account for 76 percent of the country’s vegetable production value during 2017, according to numbers released recently by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

For the 26 selected vegetables and melons estimated in 2017, California continued to be the leading State in terms of area harvested, utilized production, and value of production. Arizona and Florida ranked second and third, respectively, in terms of value of utilized production.

Source: USDA NASS Vegetables 2017 summary

In 2017, the nation’s production for the 26 estimated vegetable and melon crops totaled 738 million cwt, 6 percent below the revised 785 million cwt in 2016. The utilized production totaled 729 million cwt, 6 percent below 2016. Area harvested in 2017 was 2.48 million acres, a 4 percent reduction from the previous year. In 2017, the top three vegetables, in terms of area harvested, were sweet corn, tomatoes, and snap beans. In terms of total production, the three largest crops were tomatoes, sweet corn, and onions, which combined accounted for 54 percent of all vegetables total.

The value of utilized production for 2017 vegetable crops was $13.8 billion, up 6 percent from the previous year. Tomatoes, head lettuce, and romaine lettuce claimed the highest values, accounting for 33 percent of the total value of production when combined.

Scroll below for notes on how specific vegetable crops performed during 2017:

Asparagus: Total production in 2017 totaled 671,200 cwt, down 10 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 24,700 acres, down 4 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 23,300 acres, was down 2 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $73.1 million, 9 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 669,900 cwt, of which 519,500 cwt was for the fresh market and 7,518 tons for processing.

In Michigan, the largest producing State, asparagus began emerging in late April in the West Central region. Cool temperatures in early May delayed harvest and a frost event in mid-May damaged the crop in some areas. Warmer temperatures returned by late May and harvest was in full swing by the end of the month. Cooler temperatures and adequate moisture during the early part of June aided growth and spear quality, although early season pests were a concern to some growers. Harvest was drawing to a close by the end of June. In Washington, harvest got off to a late start due to a cold spring. New varieties started to enter production and improve yields. In California, the 2017 harvest began by late February and lasted until early June. Excessively hot temperatures resulted in below average yields.

Snap beans: Total production in 2017 totaled 18.0 million cwt, down 10 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 225,000 acres, down 10 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 214,600 acres, was down 9 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $338 million, 15 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 18.0 million cwt, of which 3.62 million cwt was for the fresh market and 718,330 tons for processing.

In Wisconsin, the largest producing State, wet and cold conditions prevailed in the spring with some reports of flooded out fields. Early plantings did not do as well as those planted later in the season. In New York, a rainy season persisted and planting was delayed and the crop matured slowly. Harvest was hindered due to continued wet conditions. In Michigan, harvest began by the end of July with good quality reported.

Broccoli: Total production in 2017 totaled 20.4 million cwt, down 9 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 130,500 acres, down 1 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 129,400 acres, was down 1 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $926 million, 9 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 20.4 million cwt, of which 19.9 million cwt was for the fresh market and 23,800 tons for processing.

In California, wet conditions restricted field access and impaired spring harvesting and planting, leading to lower yields and high prices for the 2017 crop. In Arizona, the season began with optimal growing conditions however high temperatures in the latter part of the growing season led to an earlier than normal conclusion to harvest.

Cabbage: Total production in 2017 totaled 23.5 million cwt, up 2 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 62,000 acres, up 3 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 59,600 acres, was up 3 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $429 million, 6 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 23.5 million cwt, of which 19.1 million cwt was for the fresh market and 219,908 tons for processing.

In California, adverse weather conditions in the spring and excessive precipitation negatively affected yields. In Florida, growing conditions were favorable and damage from Hurricane Irma was minimal. New York growers reported wet conditions that delayed planting and slowed crop maturity.

Cantaloupes: Total production in 2017 totaled 13.8 million cwt, down 8 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 58,000 acres, down 2 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 57,050 acres, was down 2 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $267 million, 4 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 13.8 million cwt., all of which was for the fresh market.

In California, the largest producing State, extreme heat began in June. High temperatures curtailed some harvesting and slowed growth in August and September. Overall quality was reported as good with some sun scalding and softness as the main defects from the intense heat. In Arizona, the season began with good growing conditions in late September, but in October, drier, cooler weather prevailed. Quality was rated as excellent. High temperatures began to affect quality in May with shippers reporting soft melons and smaller sizes. By mid-June an extreme heat wave affected quality and decreased availability of cantaloupe, as temperatures were so high in some areas that crews were unable to harvest. Crop loss due to the heat and inability to harvest was reported.

Carrots: Total production in 2017 totaled 30.3 million cwt, down 4 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 78,700 acres, up 1 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 74,400 acres, was down 3 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $691 million, 12 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 30.3 million cwt, of which 20.8 million cwt was for the fresh market and 475,195 tons for processing.

In California, the largest producing State, ideal weather conditions during the growing season and ample water supplies resulted in plentiful carrot production and good quality. In Washington, a prolonged rainy season followed a later than normal planting window.

Cauliflower: Total production in 2017 totaled 8.41 million cwt, up 17 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 43,100 acres, up 8 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 42,200 acres, was up 6 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $387 million, 3 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 8.39 million cwt, of which 8.06 million cwt was for the fresh market and 16,650 tons for processing.

In California, the largest producing State, stormy weather and precipitation prevailed across the cauliflower producing areas early in the season causing supply shortages and quality issues. Additional shortages were reported as the crop was transitioning between growing areas. Better growing conditions were reported later in the season improving both supplies and quality. In Arizona, optimal growing conditions were reported at the beginning of the growing season then above average rainfall and temperatures caused some problems. Later in the season, above average temperatures led to dehydration and an earlier than normal end to the season.

Celery: Total production in 2017 totaled 15.6 million cwt, down 10 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 25,400 acres, down 16 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 25,100 acres, was down 16 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $315 million, slightly less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 15.6 million cwt, of which 15.1 million cwt was for the fresh market and 26,596 tons for processing.

In California, growing conditions were mostly favorable across the major celery production areas with adequate moisture and above average temperatures. However, major storms and precipitation occurred early in the year in which resulted in some supply and quality issues.

Sweet Corn: Total production in 2017 totaled 79.3 million cwt, up 5 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 503,000 acres, down 2 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 483,100 acres, was down 2 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $932 million, 4 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 78.9 million cwt, of which 24.6 million cwt was for the fresh market and 2.72 million tons for processing.

In Minnesota, the largest producing State, the season started off slow with very wet conditions and some fields being flooded. Later in the season, drier conditions returned allowing for a good harvest. In Washington, the region was hot and dry for most of the growing season. Acreage with irrigation did well, while the acreage without irrigation showed signs of stress due to dry conditions.

Cucumbers: Total production in 2017 totaled 19.9 million cwt, up 11 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 125,800 acres, up slightly from the previous year. Area harvested, at 123,600 acres, was up 3 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $411 million, 14 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 19.9 million cwt, of which 5.32 million cwt was for the fresh market and 728,382 tons for processing.

In Michigan, the largest producing State, seeding began the third week of May and was completed by the end of June. Excessive rainfall in early July caused some damage and promoted Downey mildew development. Harvest began in late July and continued with subsequent plantings into September. In Florida, weather conditions were generally favorable. Hurricane Irma hit before most of the fields were planted. North Carolina growers reported a warm growing season, while still receiving an average amount of rainfall. Three counties reported Downey mildew. The cucumber crop in California benefitted from increased rainfall and warmer temperatures during the growing season.

Garlic: Total production in 2017 totaled 5.12 million cwt, up 13 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 33,000 acres, up 10 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 33,000 acres, was up 10 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $390 million, 17 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 5.12 million cwt, of which 1.75 million cwt was for the fresh market and 168,028 tons for processing.

Growers reported better weather in 2017 than in recent years. The harvest season ran from May through November. Some growers reported an increase in organic and heirloom garlic.

Honeydew: Total production in 2017 totaled 3.36 million cwt, down 14 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 11,600 acres, down 4 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 11,600 acres, was down 4 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $94.2 million, 25 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 3.36 million cwt, all of which was for the fresh market.

In California, unusually high summer temperatures caused some sun scalding and softness in the crop. Growers reported abundant water supplies from early season rains which were beneficial to the overall quality of the crop.

Head Lettuce: Total production in 2017 totaled 42.8 million cwt, down 6 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 123,500 acres, up 1 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 122,700 acres, was up 1 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $1.56 billion, 25 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 42.8 million cwt, all of which was for the fresh market.

In California, the largest producing State, weather was warmer than normal during the winter growing season. Heavy rains delayed harvest. In Arizona, a fall hail storm and high temperatures led to quality issues. Some growers reported burns, growth cracks, and insect damage.

Leaf Lettuce: Total production in 2017 totaled 11.0 million cwt, down 17 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 54,700 acres, down 8 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 54,100 acres, was down 9 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $673 million, 8 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 11.0 million cwt, all of which was for the fresh market.

In California, the largest producing State, heavy rains and flooding during the spring damaged a substantial portion of the crop, resulting in supply shortages and a significant increase in price. In Arizona, a hail storm in the fall led to mildew and additional quality issues such as brown spotting. Winds caused twisting and bolting. Common reported defects included

Romaine Lettuce: Total production in 2017 totaled 30.8 million cwt, up 2 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 100,300 acres, up 6 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 99,700 acres, was up 7 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $1.40 billion, 52 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 30.8 million cwt, all of which was for the fresh market.

In California, the largest producing State, weather was warmer than normal during the winter growing season. Heavy rains delayed harvest. In Arizona, a fall hail storm and high temperatures led to quality issues. Some growers reported burns, growth cracks, and insect damage.

Onions: Total production in 2017 totaled 73.5 million cwt, up fractionally from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 143,200 acres, up 1 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 138,000 acres, was up 2 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $971 million, 2 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 71.9 million cwt, of which 54.3 million cwt was for the fresh market and 878,951 tons for processing.

In California, the largest producing State, winter rains resulted in adequate water supplies in the major onion growing areas. Onion sizes were reported to be good. In both Oregon and Washington, extended wet conditions caused by a prolonged rainy season delayed plantings by several weeks. Wet conditions persisted until early May.

Green Peas: Total production in 2017 totaled 5.37 million cwt, down 14 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 129,000 acres, down 16 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 119,700 acres, was down 15 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $76.0 million, 11 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 5.37 million cwt, of which 87,900 cwt was for the fresh market and 263,946 tons for processing.

In Minnesota and Wisconsin, yields were reported as average or slightly below average due to wet weather in late May and June. The wet conditions caused some fields to be bypassed or no second crop was able to be planted. In Washington, the season started out wet, making it difficult for producers to get into the fields to plant. This was followed by hot and dry conditions for the remainder of the growing season. Fields with irrigation did well, while those without irrigation showed signs of stress due to dry conditions.

Bell Peppers: Total production in 2017 totaled 14.7 million cwt, up 1 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 44,450 acres, down 1 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 43,300 acres, was down 1 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $642 million, 33 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 14.5 million cwt, of which 12.3 million cwt was for the fresh market and 108,721 tons for processing.

In Florida, abnormally dry conditions were persistent throughout the growing season. Growing conditions in Georgia were ideal for much of the season and damage from Hurricane Matthew was minimal. In Michigan, warm, humid weather during July promoted crop development but did increase disease reports. Cooler nights in mid-August reduced foliar disease pressure. California growers reported ideal growing conditions for most of the season. However, late-season heat waves with higher than normal overnight lows affected quality and shelf life.

Chile Peppers: Total production in 2017 totaled 4.23 million cwt, down 10 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 20,000 acres, down 4 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 18,900 acres, was down 6 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $143 million, 12 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 4.23 million cwt, of which 739,100 cwt was for the fresh market and 174,667 tons for processing.

In California, weather conditions were reported to be ideal for much of the season. However, late season heat waves with higher than normal overnight lows negatively impacted quality, shelf life, and yields. In New Mexico, despite reports of dry conditions and high temperatures, the crop was not adversely affected.

Pumpkins: Total production in 2017 totaled 15.7 million cwt, down 7 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 73,230 acres, down 3 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 69,340 acres, was down 3 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $186 million, 16 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 15.4 million cwt, of which 9.48 million cwt was for the fresh market and 295,004 tons for processing.

In Illinois, cool, dry weather allowed the pumpkin harvest to start in late July. The main pumpkin producing regions averaged 6 days suitable for field work per week for the first 3 weeks of August. This helped to mitigate potential harm from a much warmer than average September and October. In Ohio, planting was underway from May into June. Several instances of powdery mildew were reported in July, several weeks later than normal. Mild temperatures, cloudy days, and rain in August led to some Downey mildew cases in September. Harvest was completed in October. Michigan began planting in May and finished in mid-July. Early season harvest began in September with full harvest underway in mid-October. The season got off to a slow start in Indiana, but warm temperatures during the second half of the season helped push crop development ahead of normal. In California, adequate irrigation supplies prevailed across the major pumpkin-growing areas after several years of drought. Above average temperatures were recorded throughout the late summer and fall, but growers reported a good crop overall.

Spinach: Total production in 2017 totaled 7.32 million cwt, down 9 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 54,150 acres, down 2 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 53,030 acres, was down 1 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $401 million, 14 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 7.32 million cwt, of which 6.03 million cwt was for the fresh market and 64,717 tons for processing.

Arizona growers reported above average rainfall and higher than average temperatures in January, followed by higher temperatures in February and March that began to affect quality of the crop.

Squash: Total production in 2017 totaled 5.82 million cwt, down 3 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 35,500 acres, down 4 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 34,400 acres, was down 4 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $178 million, 15 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 5.79 million cwt, of which 4.27 million cwt was for the fresh market and 76,168 tons for processing.

In Michigan, the largest producing State, seeding of summer squash and zucchini into plastic mulched beds was underway by late April, while transplants were being set out under low tunnels by mid-May. Direct seeding continued into late-May. Harvest began in mid-June, although cool temperatures hindered progress. Fall and winter squash planting continued through early June, with winter squash setting fruit by early August. Harvest began in early September. Florida producers experienced an abnormally dry winter and spring causing them to run more irrigation than normal. Some growers reported whitefly pressure, but overall the crop fared well. In California, winter rains resulted in adequate water supplies in the major squash growing areas. Above average temperatures during the summer months and some disease pressure were reported by growers. New York producers reported a wet growing season. Rain continued into the harvest period causing delay and lost crop due to rot. A wet spring followed by a dry summer made it a challenging year for growers in Oregon.

Strawberries: Total production in 2017 totaled 32.0 million cwt, up 1 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 54,100 acres, up less than 1 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 52,700 acres, was down 1 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $3.49 billion, down 1 percent from the previous season. Utilized production totaled 32.0 million cwt, of which 26.4 million cwt was for the fresh market and 5.55 million cwt for processing.

In California, the largest producing State, there was an increase in summer plantings for fall production despite winter rains early in the season. An increase in higher producing varieties and generally better weather conditions for most of the season led to increased production compared with the previous season. In Florida, wet conditions early in the growing season presented some disease and insect issues. In Oregon, some growers reported heat stress, as well as weed and pest pressure which negatively impacted the crop.

Tomatoes: Total production in 2017 totaled 246 million cwt, down 14 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 322,100 acres, down 10 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 311,500 acres, was down 11 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $1.67 billion, 18 percent less than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 241 million cwt, of which 20.4 million cwt was for the fresh market and 11.0 million tons for processing.

In California, the largest producing State, the intense summer heat had a negative impact on the crop. Growers also reported mold in many areas. In Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, growers reported frost damage around mid-May. By June, tomatoes were in various stages of growth with no reports of serious disease pressure. Fresh market tomato harvest began as early as late June for some growers and was well underway by mid-July. Harvest of processing tomatoes was underway by August. In Florida, the weather was warmer than average during most of the season. Much of the State was dry during the fall and early spring, however the crop received sufficient moisture. The warmer weather caused the crop to mature earlier than normal.

Watermelons: Total production in 2017 totaled 40.6 million cwt, up 2 percent from the 2016 total. Planted area was estimated at 115,300 acres, down 2 percent from the previous year. Area harvested, at 107,900 acres, was down 4 percent from 2016. The value of the crop totaled $596 million, 9 percent more than the previous season. Utilized production totaled 40.1 million cwt, of which 39.9 million cwt was for the fresh market and 12,646 tons for processing.

In Florida, the largest producing State, precipitation levels were below normal during planting but timely rains in the spring and summer aided the crop as it matured. Georgia growers reported higher than normal temperatures for the entire season. Excessive rainfall during harvest made field access difficult but led to higher yields. In Delaware, excessive rainfall and disease pressure adversely affected yields.

Above: USDA photo courtesy of Richard Tyner.





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