Texas ranks third in agricultural production in the U.S., producing large quantities of agronomic crops. The state ranks third in horticultural crops with vegetables being the most valuable at about $400 million per year. Onions, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, watermelons and cantaloupes are the most valuable vegetable crops, respectively, returning over $175 million to growers annually. Major production areas include the lower Rio Grande Valley, the Winter Garden, the San Antonio area and the High Plains. The El Paso Valley is increasing in importance.
Total vegetable acreage has stabilized, trending toward crops that can be mechanically harvested. Citrus production with red fleshed grapefruit as a base leads other fruit crops. Pecans are the second most important fruit crop with rapid expansion of improved cultivar acreage. Total production may exceed 75 million pounds in favorable crop years.
Total peach acreage is increasing with high income per acre resulting from retail sales by the grower. Blueberry acreage is also increasing. Several hundred acres of wine grapes have been planted in recent years with construction of fourteen wineries. There is limited production of apples, pears, plums, strawberries, blackberries and figs.
Grower returns for ornamentals and turf is estimated at over $300 million and is increasing. There has been an influx of greenhouse and nursery producers into Texas. along with increased acreage by long time producers. Nursery stocks continue to shift from the field to containers. Rose bush production remains viable with annual shipments of 10-15 million bushes.
The climate and soils of Texas are extremely varied. Rainfall ranges from less than 153 mm annually in west Texas to 1397 mm in east Texas. Temperature ranges from areas of no frost to 23ºF below zero. Vegetables or fruits are available in every month of the year from one or more areas of the state and some 30 different vegetables are produced commercially.
Water for irrigation is plentiful in the eastern half of the state and is sufficient in large areas of west Texas for use on high cash horticultural crops.
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Last updated: Mon Dec 22 18:44:43 NFT 2003