Spring corn, beans escape winter freeze disruption - The Packer

Spring corn, beans escape winter freeze disruption

03/11/2014 01:16:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Though late January cold severely damaged winter production, buyers can still expect normal supplies of south Florida corn and green beans.


A January freeze that destroyed Palm Beach County winter production isn’t expected to disrupt this year’s spring sweet corn crop.

Early spring volume, however, should be lighter than normal, grower-shippers report.

The cold harmed early spring plantings, pushing the deal’s usual late March start into April, said Jon Browder, sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op.

Spring corn harvesting should start in a slow way during the first part of April but become heavier toward Easter, which this year falls on April 20, he said.

“The corn looks good, and everything’s coming on,” he said in late February. “Barring any further weather problems, big volume should start in mid-April, and we should be going full-blast after Easter. With Easter being late, we hope to have good volume through Memorial Day weekend.”

After a late March freeze, production last spring hit the market at the same time in late April and nearly cut Florida’s season in half, Browder said.

Brett BergmannBrett BergmannYoung spring plantings weren’t affected by the first and second January cold snaps, and Belle Glade should produce normal spring supplies, said Brett Bergmann, co-owner of South Bay-based Hugh H. Branch Inc.

In mid-March, Branch’s growers plan to be through harvesting the freeze-damaged corn and expect to start harvesting some of the post-freeze corn in a light way, he said in late February.

“Barring any additional weather problems, we ought to have a really good crop of corn come early April,” Bergmann said. “We will have good volume and be ready to promote. The corn looks really good. We have had good-sized winter fancy corn, and we had a decent winter crop other than the freeze-damaged corn.”

In late February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported these prices for corn from South Florida: wirebound crates of 4-4½ dozen ears of yellow and bicolor selling for $14.40-16.40 and crates of white selling for $16.40.

Last year in late February, yellow and bicolor sold for $12.35-14.35 and white for $16.35.

Accounting for the bulk of winter production, Homestead usually finishes by early April when Belle Glade’s spring deal ramps up.

Belle Glade volume typically ends in late May before Georgia starts.


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