Vegetable production volumes vary in 2015

Ray Mueller
Now Media Group


Although the production totals for some processing vegetable crops were down in Wisconsin during 2015, the state nonetheless held onto 2nd place among the states for acres harvested, total production, and total production value. California continued to dominate in that field by accounting for 75 percent of the year's production in those three categories.

Snap beans continue to provide Wisconsin's one claim for first place among the states for processing vegetable production with a 2015 total of 329,530 tons to account for 43 percent of the nation's crop.

The combination of a 1,200 increase in harvested acres from 2014 to a total of 65,300 last year and a record high average yield of 5.05 tons per average solidified the state's hold on the top spot although national production rose by 12 percent to 764,900 tons in 2015.

Sweet corn decline

The 490,230 tons of sweet corn harvested for processing during 2015 proved to be the state's lowest production since 1966, the report from the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics pointed out.

This was due to a drop of 5,100 to a total of 60,700 harvested acres and an average yield of 8.08 tons per acre (down from 8.24 tons in 2014), resulting in nearly a 10-percent decrease in total yield compared to 2014 but still keeping the state in 3rd place for the crop. The national total for processing sweet corn in 2015 was down by 3 percent to just under 2.49 million tons.

As a fresh market crop, Wisconsin growers harvested an average of 129 hundredweight (cwt) of sweet corn from 3,700 acres (up by 200) for a total crop of 477,000 cwt, which was the state's largest crop since 2011. Across the nation, 24.649 million cwt of fresh market sweet corn was harvested from 229,090 acres in 2015.

More green peas

Wisconsin also held onto 3rd place among the states with a record high average of 2.37 tons per acre on its 34,300 harvested acres of processing green peas for total crop of 81,120 tons, which was an increase of 15 percent from 2014. The number of harvested acres was down by 2,300 from a year earlier but the record yield per acre was a .44 ton increase from 2014.

Similarly, the nation's production of processing green peas also jumped by 13 percent in 2015 to a total of 411,320 tons. That crop was obtained from 166,200 acres (down by 22,500) but the average per acre yield jumped by .54 ton from 2014 to 2.47 tons per acre in 2015.

Cucumbers 'n Carrots

Production of cucumbers for pickling fell by 3 percent in Wisconsin to 32,890 tons. The number of harvested acres held at 5,400, but the average yield per acre was down by .17 ton to 6.09 tons in 2015. The nation's production of 533,460 tons from 85,110 harvested acres was down by 1 percent.

Wisconsin's carrot production fell by 9 percent in 2015 to a total of 97,730 tons. The 3,800 harvested acres was an increase of 100 but per acre average yields dropped by 11 percent to a 25.72 tons in 2015.

Onions and cabbage

In the fresh market vegetable category, the report indicated that Wisconsin growers harvested 645,000 cwt of onions (down by 18 percent) from 1,500 acres. That was a decrease of 200 acres and the average yield per acre fell by 35 cwt to 430 in 2015. The nation's production of 52.672 million cwt of summer storage onions from 92,500 acres was a decline of nearly 2 percent.

To avoid disclosing data for individual operations, no numbers were reported for cabbage production in Wisconsin during 2015. The numbers for 2014 were 2,900 harvested acres for a total of 725,000 cwt. From a total of 55,920 harvested acres in 2015, the national production of cabbage was 20.113 million cwt.

Production values

Dollar values for Wisconsin growers in 2015 for their vegetable crops were $66.472 million for snap beans (up by 16 percent from 2014), $43.085 million for processing sweet corn (down by 17 percent), $27.11 million for green peas (up by nearly 2 percent), $9.652 million for carrots (up slightly), $9.538 million for cucumbers (down by 5 percent), $13.976 million for fresh market sweet corn (up 39 percent) and $10.624 million for onions (down by 19 percent).

National values for vegetable crops in 2015 included $255.48 million for processing sweet corn (down by 11 percent from 2014), $178.578 million for snap beans (up by 5 percent), $172.715 million for cucumbers (down by 15 percent), $131.568 for green peas (down by 1.3 percent) and $36.095 million for carrots (down by 3 percent).

Based on its much higher equivalent value per cwt or ton, fresh market sweet corn was valued at $671.933 million in 2015. But that was down by more than 6 percent from 2014 because the price per cwt of $24 was $4.70 less than the average in 2014.

The nation's summer storage onion crop was worth $599.508 million in 2015, an increase of 14 percent. Cabbage had a value to growers of $386.085 million, which was a decrease of 7 percent from 2014.