Vegetable production up, value down

02/01/2013 01:40:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Production of 24 leading U.S. vegetable and melon crops rose 1% in 2012, but their overall value decreased, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

About 438 million cwt. were harvested on 1.68 million acres, also up 1% from 2011, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Vegetables 2012 Summary.

Despite the production and acreage increases, the crops’ value fell to $10.1 billion, 6% lower than in 2011, according to the report.

The highest-volume crops in 2012 were onions, head lettuce and watermelons. Together, they made up 36% of total production.

Onion production dropped from 74.1 million cwt. in 2011 to 72.3 million cwt. in 2012. head lettuce production was 45.6 million cwt., down from 49.7 million cwt., and watermelon production rose from 37.2 million to 39 million cwt.

The most valuable crops, accounting for 26% of total value, were onions, tomatoes and sweet corn.

The value of the 2012 onion crop was $944 million, up from $742 million in 2011. Sweet corn values also were up, rising from $759 million to $822 million. Tomato values were down, falling from $1 billion in 2011 to $864 million last year.

California produced 49% of the leading vegetable and melon crops in 2012 and accounted for 50% of total value. Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Washington followed, in order, in both volume and value.



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