South Florida sweet corn growers continue assessing damage from a March 4 freeze.
Growers said the freeze damaged a significant part of the region’s spring corn.
Palm Beach County Extension ServiceSouth Florida sweet corn growers are assessing damage from a March 4 freeze. The freeze that damaged fields like this one in Palm Beach County isn't believed to have caused as much damage as growers initially thought. Members of the Maitland-based Florida Sweet Corn Exchange plan to discuss damage at a March 14 meeting.
Jon Browder, sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op, Belle Glade, Fla., said he hasn’t heard much about damage.
He said growers met and discussed damage March 8 but decided not to report anything until the follow-up meeting.
“They just don’t know for sure what they’re leaving and what will be left to mature or not,” Browder said March 13. “We want to get everything together before they announce anything.”
Arthur Kirstein, coordinator for the office of agricultural economic development for the Palm Beach County Extension Service, West Palm Beach, Fla., said damage was considerably smaller than many initially feared.
“The numbers don’t look as bad as we thought they were,” he said March 12. “But there still is considerable damage. We will know as the season goes by. Some of the yields won’t be what we thought.”
In initial reports, Kirstein said Palm Beach County, which grows the bulk of the state’s spring corn, suffered up to 25% in losses. He now said losses are less than 20%.
While corn prices show little upward movement, damage to spring green beans is keeping markets high.
On March 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported bushel-cartons/crates of hand-picked and machine-picked round green beans from central and south Florida selling for $35-35.85, up from $24.85-26.95 those same types sold for in early March.
On corn, the USDA in mid-March reported wirebound crates of 4-4 1/2 dozen yellow and bicolor selling for $12.35 while white fetched $14.35.
Gary Stafford, salesman and green bean manager with Hugh H. Branch Inc., South Bay, Fla., said buyers shouldn’t expect any beans until mid-April, delaying volume until the last several weeks of the spring deal before Georgia begins production.
“The Glades area is significantly slow right now as a result of the cold damage and water damage from rain a couple weeks prior to the cold,” Stafford said March 13. “We won’t have a normal bean deal here for at least four to six weeks. There are very little beans on the lake.”
High volume normally begins in mid-March for Belle Glade beans.