BELLE GLADE, Fla. — This season’s Florida corn harvest is expected to open with lower volume than typical.

Grower-shippers say heavy early fall rains disrupted plantings and should cause supply gaps.

“The supplies in Florida are hampered by rain,” Gene Duff, executive vice president and general manager of Pioneer Growers Co-op, said in mid-October. “We have had excessive rain and will have gaps because the plantings were disrupted. We should have very spotty supplies.”

Duff said Florida typically begins corn harvesting Nov. 10-15, about the same time Georgia usually finishes.

He said he expects the timing to be as usual but volume won’t be as strong as usual.

Duff said Georgia harvesting began in late September, and he called demand good.

He said buyers should expect prices to remain strong.

In mid-October, growers reported wirebound crates of 4-4 1/2 dozen from south Georgia selling for $14.95 for white and $12.95 for yellow and bicolor.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Oct. 30 reported wirebound crates of 4-4 1/2 dozen from south Georgia selling for $8.95-10.95 for yellow and bicolor and $10.95 for white.

Last season in late October, the USDA reported yellow and bicolor from Georgia selling for $14 with $14.95-15.95 for white.

Brett Bergmann, co-owner of Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, said the rains should affect Florida production but it’s too early to tell how the harvest will fare.

He said weather skewed the systematic way Florida growers typically plant to anticipate harvests.

“The rains have made for some irregular plantings, but we anticipate having really good quality,” Bergmann said in mid-October. “Volume could be a tad lighter than normal, and it’s going to be challenging. We’re still in the middle of planting and are just a tad behind.”

Bergmann said buyers should expect decent quality and should see normal supplies after Thanksgiving through the first of the year.

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., said Duda looks to transition from its Georgia production to Florida Nov. 12.

He said Duda increased its Glades area acreage following customers requests.

“The quality looks good,” he said in mid-October.