Fall vegetable acreage in the U.S. is expected to increase a little, but melon production will likely go up a lot, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report.


Fall melon acreage is forecasted to rise 19% from fall 2008, to 17,200 acres, according to the Oct. 2 vegetables report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fall melon acreage also jumped from 2007 (13,300) to 2008 (14,400).


By variety, about 13,700 acres of cantaloupes are expected to be harvested, up 19% from 2008. Honeydew acreage, at a projected 3,500 acres, would be up 21%.


Most of the growth in fall melon production will come from Arizona, the government predicts. Cantaloupe acreage in the Grand Canyon State is expected to climb from 7,500 to 9,700, and honeydew acreage from 1,000 to 1,500. Fall melon acreage in California is forecasted to be similar to last year.


Acreage for 11 of the top fall fresh-market vegetables tracked by the USDA is projected to be 152,000 acres, up 5% from last fall. In the fall of 2007, however, about 153,440 acres of those vegetables were planted.


Anticipated declines in carrot, bell pepper and tomato acreage will more than likely be made up for by expected increases in snap beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumber and head lettuce acreage.


Summer storage onion production is forecast at 57 million cwt., up 3% from 2008. Harvested acreage, however, is expected to be down, falling 1% to about 104,000 acres.


Of the 11 non-onion fresh market vegetables surveyed by the USDA, cabbage is expected to grow by the biggest percentage in 2009. Cabbage acreage is forecasted to jump from 4,970 to 6,680.


The biggest cabbage volume increase will likely be seen in Georgia, where fall acreage is projected to climb from 3,000 to 4,000.


Among other vegetables, bean acreage is expected to increase from 17,800 to 18,000; broccoli from 25,000 to 25,500; cauliflower from 7,900 to 8,400; celery from 7,000 to 7,400; sweet corn from 9,400 to 10,000; cucumbers from 4,900 to 5,900; and head lettuce from 28,000 to 31,000.


Among the biggest state-level percentage acreage increases will be seen in Florida, where bean acreage is expected to jump from 8,500 to 9,200, and sweet corn acreage from 5,500 to 6,100; and California, where cauliflower acreage could increase from 7,900 to 8,400 and celery acreage from 7,000 to 7,400.


Fall U.S. carrot production is expected to fall from 17,000 to 16,800 acres; bell peppers from 3,700 to 3,600; and tomatoes from 19,000 to 18,800.