Midwest sweet corn: good quality, ample volumes

06/19/2013 12:23:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Mother Nature could delay the start of the Midwestern sweet corn deals, but she also is promising excellent quality and yields, grower-shippers said.

Three inches of rain fell in an hour and a half on June 12 in fields farmed by Byron Center, Mich.-based E. Miedema & Sons, said Dave Miedema, the company’s president.

And that was far from the only moisture Miedema’s sweet corn crop has received this spring.

“It’s just the opposite of last year,” Miedema said. “It’s been a real wet end of May and beginning of June.”

It’s been a struggle to stay on schedule, but the payoff has been a great-looking crop as of June 18, Miedema said.

“It’s growing like crazy,” he said.

Miedema & Sons’ acreage, at 750 to 800, is similar to last season, Miedema said.

Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc. expects to begin harvesting from Ohio in mid-July, said Loren Buurma, the company’s co-owner.

“We’re running a week behind where we’d like to be,” Buurma said June 17.

Quality and yields, however, shouldn’t be an issue, thanks to timely rains and cool growing weather, Buurma said.

“We’re getting a half-inch to an inch every three or four days,” he said. “The stands are very nice.”

Urbana, Ohio-based Michael Farms expects to begin shipping sweet corn about July 12, about right on time, said Scott Michael, president.

Because it will likely start earlier than other shippers in the post-Georgia deal, Michael Farms expects strong demand at the beginning of the deal.

On June 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $7.45 for wire-bound crates of four dozen ears of yellow, white and bicolor corn from Georgia, down from $10.20-10.95 last year at the same time.

Michael reported good quality in mid-June and said production could be up because Michael Farms didn’t miss any plantings due to weather.

A combination of a late start and cool temperatures could delay the start of the Michigan deal, Miedema said. In mid-June July 20-25 was looking like a possible beginning to the Michigan deal.

And with Georgia expected to wind down on time, that could create a gap in July, based on what Miedema has gleaned talking to buyers.

That’s not necessarily a good thing, he said. If prices get too high, retailers could get scared off.

That wasn’t a problem in mid-June. The market was flooded, Buurma said. Buurma Farms kicked off its Georgia deal in June. Buurma also reported good quality out of that deal.


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