Freezes destroy Florida beans and corn - The Packer

Freezes destroy Florida beans and corn

12/08/2010 08:59:51 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

For the latest news on the Florida freezes and the impact on crops and prices, see our Dec. 9 coverage: Florida freezes send prices higher as more cold weather predicted.

(UPDATED COVERAGE, 11 a.m.) TAMPA, Fla. — Consecutive nights of subfreezing temperatures are expected to bring big losses to Florida-grown green beans and sweet corn.

University of Florida

Two nights of freezing temperatures damaged beans and corn near Belle Glade.Florida growers were estimating damage from a Dec. 7 freeze and from even colder temperatures that struck during the early morning hours of Dec. 8 and how it affected tomatoes and other vegetables.

While growers are assessing damages on tomatoes and other vegetables from freezes that struck central and south Florida growing regions during the early morning hours of Dec. 7-8, corn and beans grower-shippers report significant damage in the Belle Glade area winter growing region from two nights of cold.

Paul Allen, vice president and partner with Pahokee-based R.C. Hatton Farms, which markets through Hugh H. Branch Inc., said some growers reported temperatures fell to 27 degrees Dec. 8.

He said the overall deal is in bad shape.

“There’s a lot of damage around,” Allen said Dec. 8. “There are going to be shortages for the next months for sure on beans and corn.”

Though growers are still viewing the damage, Bryan Biederman, assistant sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op, Belle Glade, said buyers should expect small bean volume.

“It appears that we have lost all our beans,” he said Dec. 8. “They suffered significant damage. On the corn, we are still trying to assess the damage.”

Biederman said four to five hours of 28-degree temperatures can kill plants.

As the state’s tomato deal is transitioning from central Florida’s fall crop in Palmetto-Ruskin to south Florida’s Immokalee winter deal, Reggie Brown, manager of the Maitland-based Florida Tomato Committee and executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, said he’s hearing tomatoes sustained some damage.

“There is a little more damage around (from the previous night’s freeze),” he said Dec. 8. “It wasn’t a wipe-out and it didn’t put us out of business.”

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