Revised, October 2017
There are three major types of cabbage, Brassica oleracea, green, red, and savoy. It belongs in the same plant family as many other vegetables, including Chinese cabbage, broccoli, mustard, collards, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, turnip and bok choy. The per person annual consumption of fresh cabbage in 2016 averaged 5.8 pounds per person and 1.3 pounds of canned (kraut) (USDA ERS, 2017)
The majority of cabbage is used in processing for coleslaw (45%), followed by fresh head cabbage (35%), sauerkraut (12%) and other fresh-cut products (5-10%). Fresh cabbage markets and sauerkraut markets are distinct, with the majority of sauerkraut grown under contract between grower and buyer.
Cabbage is considered a cool-weather crop. Most production of cabbage occurs in the fall, winter and spring months in the southern states and extending into the summer in the northern states. Although cabbage is grown throughout the United States, 78 percent of the nation’s total cabbage (fresh market and processing) is produced in five states, California, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, and Texas. The national average yield in 2016 was estimated at 39,600 pounds per acre.
The acreage of cabbage in the U.S. has dropped in the last 3 years to 57,300 total acres harvested in 2016. The national average yield in 2016 was estimated at 39,600 pounds per acre. Total U.S. cabbage production in 2016 was estimated at 1,844.9 million pounds (USDA ERS, 2017). Approximately 7.6 percent of production was exported in 2016, up 27 percent from 2015. Cabbage imports were a record 216.3 million pounds in 2016, accounting for approximately 11.6 percent of the total utilization. In 2016, the estimation value of fresh market and processed cabbage produced in the U.S. was $402.13 million and $47.96 million, respectively.
Wholesale prices for fresh market cabbage have been variable. The 2016 season average U.S. price was $21.80 per cwt for fresh market cabbage and $228 per ton for cabbage produced for processing (USDA NASS, 2017).
Based on most recent production and wholesale price averages, the estimated gross value per acre of fresh market is $8,630 per acre. The costs of production of cabbage vary depending the production location. Cabbage is labor intensive because it is hand-harvested and field packed.