Joe Peña, Extension economist in Uvalde, said the quality of most of the cabbage he has seen in southwest Texas has been good.

After excellent fall rains, the cabbage-growing season has been nearly ideal, with cool, dry weather and the soil moisture controlled by irrigation, he said. Texas leads the nation in winter cabbage production followed by Florida.

More than 90 percent of the 7,000 to 9,000 acres produced annually in Texas are grown south of Austin, Pena said.

Although Texas dominates cabbage production during winter, the state ranks third in the nation, behind California and New York in overall annual production. Texas annually produces about 300 million to 400 million pounds of the 2.4 billion to 2.5 billion pounds produced in the United States annually, Pena said.

Juan Anciso, Extension vegetable specialist in Weslaco, said Alternaria leaf spot has been reported on some cabbage in his area. Other than that, very little disease or insect damage has been reported this year.

Cabbage grows better under chilly and dry conditions and requires great amounts of water, Anciso said. Irrigation is preferred over rain because the quantity of water can be controlled, he said.

"Cabbage is currently selling for $8 to $9 a bag for the green, and $13 to $14 for red, which is very good," Pena said.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com