Warm weather produces strong Florida corn crop

02/05/2013 01:39:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Florida sweet corn grower-shippers report high quality and say retailers should expect ample supplies as the winter deal transitions to spring production.

The warm winter weather may also prompt spring production to begin earlier in volume, shippers say.

Jon Browder, sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-opDoug OhlemeierJon Browder, sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op, Belle Glade, Fla., with some crates of yellow corn in early February. Florida grower-shippers report wintertime production bringing ample volume and high quality. Brett Bergmann, co-owner of Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, said quality is high.

“Barring any freezes, we ought to have a decent supply of corn this winter,” he said Feb. 4. “Corn has been moving real good. We have had good volume, good quality and moderate prices.”

Bergmann characterized tonnage as moderate and said the deal should see spring production beginning in light volumes in early to mid-March.

In mid-January, Pioneer Growers Co-op finished its Belle Glade fall harvesting and transitioned to Homestead for winter supplies.

Jon Browder, sales manager, said abnormally warm winter temperatures are helping corn growth.

Browder said buyers should expect strong supplies for the spring which he said could start with higher volume at the end of March, about a week ahead of the normal Belle Glade early April start.

“For our winter corn, quality is good,” he said in early February. “There were some immature ear problems with tips, and we were seeing a little more worm pressure with the heat, but overall, quality is excellent.”

While spring harvesting typically begins in late March, promotable volume usually doesn’t hit until April.

In early February, Bergmann quoted $14 for wirebound crates of 4-4 1/2 dozen yellow, saying prices increased from January when corn was selling for $10-12 for yellow.

In early February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported these prices for corn from south Florida:

Wirebound crates of 4-4 1/2 dozen, $14.35-15.35 for yellow, $15.35-16.35 for white 4-4 1/2 dozen 15.35-16.35 with previous commitments $14.35 and bicolor fetching $14.35.

In late February last year, the USDA reported wirebound crates of 4-4 1/2 dozen yellow 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.

Bryan Biederman, partner with Scotlynn Sweet Pac Growers LLC, said Georgia and Florida fall production went well and said the deal brought high quality corn into the new year.

“Demand is normal,” he said in early February. “As soon as it starts to warm up in the north, everyone will get into the corn buying mode when interest and volume builds in late March and early April.”

Homestead production normally finishes in early March though some harvest into April when Belle Glade’s spring deal ramps up.

Florida’s corn packing hub, Belle Glade volume usually finishes in late May before Georgia starts.



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