PAHOKEE, Fla. — Surviving winter cold, growers expect this year’s Florida spring sweet corn crop to start earlier than normal and possibly bring earlier promotable spring volume.
The Jan. 3-4 freeze that struck the Glades growing region damaged some winter corn but didn’t harm spring plantings that went into the ground after, grower-shippers say.
Brett Bergmann, co-owner of Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, said he expects Belle Glade harvesting to begin with light volume in early March, earlier than the typical late March start.
Promotable volume typically hits in mid-April.
“In early March, we will be on the cusp of having the corn deal kick off,” Bergmann said in late February.
“If it stays warm, we will hopefully have an early promotable crop. We will have good quality and will be able to kick it off right. All the young corn for spring looks good. Buyers should expect a good, high-quality crop of spring corn with ample supplies to promote.”
Bergmann called Homestead winter volume and quality strong. Though Homestead growers try to finish in early March, some harvest into April when Belle Glade’s spring deal heats up.
Bryan Biederman, assistant sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op, called the quality of winter corn shipping from Homestead during January and February exceptional.
He said buyers should expect small volumes of corn from Belle Glade in mid-March with spring volumes to begin ramping up through mid-April. Spring promotional volume should hit full stride by mid-April, he said.
“The weather has been perfect for our growing season,” Biederman said in late February.
“We have had a good winter season. We hope this will turn into great quality and great demand. Demand so far has been good. We hope this rolls into a banner spring.”
Biederman said the freeze didn’t affect spring volume and said cold weather that struck in mid-February didn’t affect Homestead or Belle Glade production.
In late February, Biederman quoted $12.95 for wirebound crates of 4-4 1/2 dozen yellow corn, lower than the $18.95 f.o.b.s shippers quoted in late January.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in late February reported wirebound crates of 4-4½ dozen yellow corn from south Florida selling for $14.95 with white and bicolor at $16.95, higher than the $10.95 for yellow and $8.95-10.95 for white and bicolor it reported in mid-February.
Last year in late February, the USDA reported wirebound crates of 4-4 1/2 dozen yellow corn from south Florida selling for $22.95-24.95 with white and bicolor fetching $22.85-24.85.
Jason Bedsole, sales manager of eastern vegetables and citrus for Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., the fresh division of Oviedo-based A. Duda & Sons Inc., called corn quality from Homestead in January and February high.
He said he expects a smooth transition into the Belle Glade region by late March and early April.
“The cold weather didn’t affect us,” Bedsole said.
“We’re doing well. We have good quality and volumes and as we come into the Glades area, we will have good stands. The deal looks to be good quality and have promotable volumes from the start.”
Florida’s corn packing hub, Belle Glade volume usually finishes in late May in time for the start of Georgia’s deal.