Vegetables and Melons Outlook - August 2011

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The farm value of all mushroom (Agaricus and others) sales during the 2010/11 crop year (July-June) reached a new high of $1 billion, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Partly reflecting modest gains in the economy, mushroom sales volume rose 9 percent to 862 million pounds, the second highest level on record. In line with higher output, per capita disappearance (use) of all mushrooms grew 8 percent to 3.82 pounds in 2010/11.

During the first 7 months of 2011, prices at the point of first sale (farm price) for freshmarket vegetables averaged 14 percent above the previous year. After declining 4 percent from a year earlier this past spring, farm prices are expected to average below a year ago this summer, with weather-delayed crops coming to harvest and crowding the market in late July and August.

Contract area for harvest of the five major processing vegetables (tomatoes, sweet corn, snap beans, green peas, and cucumbers for pickles) totaled 1.02 million acres in 2011— down 8 percent from a year earlier. Due to a late start and periods of extreme heat in the Midwest this summer, yields are expected to vary widely. As a result, production of the five leading processing crops could be down slightly from last year’s 17.1 million tons.

Gary Lucier
Lewrene Glaser
USDA Economic Research Service