Featured Produce News

U.S. Carrot Industry at a Glance

March 05, 2015

Carrot Harvest Techniques, Statistics and Reports  

A quick look at carrot harvesting and packing:

 

 
2013 Crop Year, Carrot

Value

$ 692.8 million

 

Production

2.3 billion lbs

(1,043,480 MT)

Domestic Consumption/For Processing

2.4 billion lbs

(1,093,984 MT)

Exports

248.9 million lbs

(112,905 MT)

Imports

360.3 million lbs

(163,409 MT)

Bearing Acres

71,400

 

Per Capita Consumption

7.6 lbs/person

 

Data Source: FAS, USDA; NASS, USDA

About Carrots

Carrots originated in the near east, most likely near present-day Afghanistan and eastern Asia.  They were likely brought to the Americas in the 1600s by early European settlers.  Although carrots were primarily purple or white originally, the orange carrot dominates the market today. Carrots can be grown for fresh consumption, including typical cut and peel carrots, or baby cut carrots.  Carrots are also processed into various products including baby foods, canned or frozen carrots, and juices.

Nutrition and Genetics

A medium-size carrot has 25 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. A single carrot can also provide more than 200% of your daily vitamin A requirement.  Carrots, as part of a balanced diet, can help you meet your dietary needs for calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. These minerals help maintain bone and tooth health, proper muscle function and a healthy nervous system. They also help with energy metabolism, protein synthesis, fluid balance and red blood cell formation.

USDA’s ARS has a vegetables crop research service whose mission is to “investigate the genetics, cytogenetics, taxonomy, gene flow, disease resistance, physiology, molecular biology and breeding strategies of vegetable crops.”  Philipp Simon, the research leader for carrots and garlic, has conducted numerous studies investigating chromosome behavior, phylogeny, pest resistance, postharvest physiology, intra-and interspecific crossing, nutritional quality, flavor, storage quality, and the effects of environmental stress on carrots. To visit the ARS Carrot Genetics page, click here.

The World Carrot Museum

The World Carrot Museum, initiated and curated by John Stolarczyk of Skipton, England, provides an online virtual museum experience for visitors. Its mission is to educate, inform and amuse visitors through the collection, preservation, interpretation and exhibition of objects relating to the carrot.  The museum contains information on carrot history, nutrition, cultivation, recipes, trivia, cooking and storage tips, collectibles, games and toys as well as a description of carrots as they exist in the wild. It gives an extensive history of the carrot including a timeline, showing how its color has changed over the millennia, from white or purple to the ubiquitous orange.  To visit the museum and begin a virtual tour, click here.

World Carrot Industry

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market Click on World Production Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from FAO.
Note: data includes turinps.

The United States is currently the fourth largest producer of carrots, producing almost 1.3 million metric tons in 2013, or about 3.47% of total world production.  This number, however, is nothing compared to China, the top producer of carrots.  In 2013, China produced almost 17 million metric tons, more than 45% of the world’s carrots and turnips.  The second largest producer, Uzbekistan, distantly follows China in production. Uzbekistan produced 1.6 million metric tons of carrots and turnips, or just about 4.41% of total world production.  Russia is right behind, producing 4.31% of total world production. 

In the United States

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market Click on U.S. Carrot Production Graph to enlarge.
Source: FASS, USDA

Total carrot production has remained fairly steady since 2006. The U.S. first started tracking carrots for processing and carrots for fresh consumption in 2006. Since 2006, the quantity of carrots used for processing has remained fairly consistent.  However, 2013 production of carrots used for processing is nearly 50,000 MT less than 2006 production.  

Total carrot production peaked between 2006 and 2008 and then dropped almost 170,000 MT between 2008 and 2009.  For the next few years, production continued to decline. Since 2011, however, production has been on a fairly steady rise.

Within the United States, California produces more than 80% of the nation’s carrots for fresh consumption.  The California Fresh Carrot Advisory Board was established to strengthen the California carrot industry by actively supporting research involving biological, cultural, physical, and chemical pest control methodologies. The research findings are used to create cost effective, pest management programs for carrots aiming to prevent undue crop loss, ideally by preventing the problem in the first place, while causing minimal disruptions to the environment.  Almost 90 percent of all carrots grown in California go to the fresh market. The remaining balance goes to processing channels for use in baby foods, canned or frozen carrots, juices and other markets. 

Michigan and Texas are the next largest producing states, but each state’s production consists less than 2% of total U.S. carrots. Washington and Wisconsin are the United States’ largest producers of carrots used for processing. 

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market Click on U.S. Carrot Imports and Exports Graph to enlarge.
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission.

In 2005, the U.S. had a trade surplus of 39,179 MT.  From 2005 to 2011, imports rose while exports slowly declined, and in 2008 the U.S. faced a slight trade deficit. This gap widened and reached its peak in 2011, having 69,120 MT more imports than exports. Since then, the trade deficit has slowly been decreasing. In 2013, the gap was 50,504 MT.

2012/13 Major Players in Apple MarketClick on U.S. Imports Graph to enlarge.
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission.

More than 90% of U.S. carrot imports and exports are between Canada and Mexico.  

2012/13 Major Players in Apple MarketClick on U.S. Export to enlarge.
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission.

 

U.S. Organic Carrot Production

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market Click on Organic Production Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from NASS, USDA

California controls almost 80% of the organic carrot market.  Washington follows with a little less than 20% of the organic carrot production.  The other 1% of organic carrots produced comes from Oregon, Wisconsin, Vermont, etc.  There are currently 883 NOP certified farms in the U.S. that produce carrots.  Surprisingly, only 112 of those are in California.  The value of organic carrots in 2008 was $11,530,491.  Organic carrot sales consist about 1.7% of total organic vegetable sales.

More Information on Carrots

To see the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service grading, certification, and verification requirements for carrots, click here.

For a USDA Economic Research Service study on factors affecting the carrot market in the US, click here.

For an Agricultural Marketing Research Center article on the carrot market, click here.

 

 

 

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