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Higher prices boost income on vegetable crops in 2013

April 7, 2014 | 0 comments

MADISON

For the most part, Wisconsin's growers of vegetables that were sold to processors or at fresh market outlets enjoyed both higher per acre yields and unit prices in 2013 than in 2012 but the number of harvested acres was less for each crop except cucumbers, according to a report in early April by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Wisconsin continued to set the pace among the states for the production of snap beans as its production of 298,570 tons from 59,800 acres accounted for 45 percent of the nation's crop. The number of harvested acres in the state was down from 70,700 in 2012 but the average yield per acre in 2013 was up by .49 ton to 4.99 tons and the price paid to growers jumped by $98 per ton to $340, putting the crop's value at $101.452 million — up by 33 percent from 2012.

Across the United States, snap bean production fell by 11 percent in 2013 because the number of harvested acres dropped by nearly 22,000 to 149,770. The average yield per acre was up by .09 ton to 4.45 tons and the $320 per ton average price put the 2013 value of the crop at $213.25 million for snap bean growers.

Sweet corn data

Sweet corn continued to account for the highest number of vegetable crop acres with 66,500 being harvested in Wisconsin during 2013. This was down from 73,200 acres in 2012 but the average yield per acre was up by .77 ton to 8.78 tons.

Wisconsin's sweet corn for processing crop in 2013 was down by 2,380 tons from 2012 to 583,960 tons but the price increase of $36 per ton to $150 put the value of the year's production to growers at $87.569 million — an increase of 30 percent from 2012.

Due to a decrease of nearly 44,000 in harvested acres to a total of 314,950, sweet corn production in the United States slipped by 13 percent to just under 2.552 million tons in 2013. Even with a $13 per ton price uptick to $140, the value of the crop fell by $15.3 million to $357.804 million in 2013.

The statistical report also has a breakout for sweet corn sold in fresh market venues. Wisconsin had 5,600 such acres in 2013, down by 500 from 2012, but the total yield of 566,000 hundredweights (cwts) was only 1,000 hundredweight (cwt) less than in 2012 because the average per acre yield was up by 8 cwts to 101.

With a $4 per cwt increase to $29.60 in the average fresh market price in 2013, the value of the 2013 crop to fresh market sellers was $16.754 million. This was an increase of 15 percent from 2012.

In the United States, sweet corn for fresh market sales was harvested from 238,580 acres in 2013. The average yield was down by 4 cwt per acre to 125 but the $2 per cwt increase to $28.20 for the average selling price boosted the value of the crop by 3.5 percent from 2012 to a total of $842.337 million in 2013.

Peas and pickles

Wisconsin growers increased their green pea production by 14 percent from 2012 to a total of 75,550 tons in 2013 but the state remained in third place in the nation for that crop. Harvested acres were down by 1,300 to 36,000 but the average yield per acre was up by .32 ton to 2.1 tons and the average price per ton was up by $60 to $521. As a result, the value of the 2013 green pea crop to growers jumped by nearly 28 percent to $39.36 million.

Across the United States, however, green pea production was down by 10 percent in 2013, due mainly to the 21-percent drop in Minnesota, the report indicated. The per ton average price remained at $427 but the nation's acres were down by 12,200 to 178,300, production was down by 39,200 tons to 356,050, and the crop value fell by $16.73 million to $151.928 million.

Wisconsin's cucumber growers boosted their crop acres by 600 to 5,900 in 2013. With a per acre tonnage increase of .81 to an average of 6.51 ton and a price increase of $29 to $288 per ton, the value of the state's 38,410 tons of production jumped by 41 percent from 2012 to $11.062 million in 2013.

As with the other crops, production across the United States dropped for cucumbers in 2013. Harvested acres were down by 2,460 to 82,100, the crop was down by 6,980 tons to 473,140, and the value of the cucumber crop fell by $16.05 million to $148.101 million.

Carrots and cabbage

Wisconsin had a decrease of 100 acres to 4,100 on its carrot harvest in 2013 but a slight per acre yield increase to 28.5 tons and a price jump of $18.90 per ton to $106 boosted the value of the crop to the state's growers by 19 percent to $12.362 million.

With the 118,900 tons of carrots harvested for processing in 2012, Wisconsin stood in first place among the states for production volume. In 2013, however, Wisconsin was bumped into second place by Washington, which increased its harvested acres by 35 percent. Nonetheless, Wisconsin accounted for one-third of the nation's production with its total of 116,850 tons of carrots in 2013.

The nation's carrot growers harvested 13,310 acres, up by 900, for a total yield of 349,950 tons in 2013. A price increase of $9 per ton to $112 boosted the value of the year's crop by nearly 18 percent to $39.148 million.

In the fresh market category, cabbage was harvested from 3,100 acres in Wisconsin during 2013, providing a yield of 868,000 cwt from the average of 280 cwt per acre. The combination of 100 more harvested acres, the per acre increase of 30 cwt, and the price hike of $1.40 per cwt to $16.40 boosted the value of the crop by 26 percent to $14.235 million in 2013.

Across the United States, the fresh market harvested acres for cabbage were down by 3,520 to 60,180 but increases in per acre yields and prices brought the value of the 2013 crop to $442.205 million — up by 8.5 percent from 2012.

Bundles of onions

Onion growers in Wisconsin held their acreage steady at 1,800 in 2013 but a yield jump of 140 cwt per acre to 450 and a $3 per cwt increase in the price to $16.40 nearly doubled the value of the crop to $12.48 million. The nation's production of summer onions saw a drop in acres and yield per acre but a per cwt price increase to $12.10 kept the value on a par with 2012.

Wisconsin field office statistician Greg Bussler explains that the line items for onions, unlike with other vegetable crops, are unique because of an inputed loss for shrinkage. From the reported production of 810,000 cwt in Wisconsin's production for 2013, a reduction of 49,000 cwt was made when calculating the value for onion growers.

For the year as a whole, Wisconsin remained in second place among the states for both tonnage and value of its vegetable crop production and in third place for the number of harvested acres. California stood well above all other states in all three of those categories as it accounted for 71 percent of the production of the top five vegetable crops.

Strawberry fields

Another recent report by state statistical service noted that the value of Wisconsin's strawberry crop in 2013 increased thanks to higher yields per acre and higher prices per cwt despite a decrease of 10 harvested acres from 2012 to a total of 600.

Wisconsin's strawberry growers harvested an average of 55 cwt per acre, up from 51 in 2012, and received an average price of $165 per cwt, up from $151 in in 2012. This put the value of their 2013 crop at $5.445 million compared to $4.681 million in 2012.

California continued to dominate in strawberry production, accounting for 71 percent of the 58,190 acres harvested in 2013 and an even higher percentage of the yield with its average of 665 cwt per acre for a crop with a total value of more than $2.2 billion in 2013. Florida follows with almost 20 percent as many strawberry acres as California has but its per acre yields are only about one-third of those in California.

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