Rain should pump up Michigan sweet corn prices

07/13/2006 12:00:00 AM
Andy Nelson

(July 13) Rain damage in the Midwest and other growing regions should mean lower volumes and strong markets for Midwestern sweet corn, grower-shippers said.

Heavy rains during planting could cut Hudsonville, Mich.-based Superior Sales Inc.’s deal by 25%, said Randy Vande Guchte, president. The quality on the corn that survived looks good, he said. Vande Guchte said he had heard no reports of pest or disease damage.

Superior’s deal should begin slightly early, about July 17, and end Oct. 10-15, he said.

Michigan wasn’t the only growing region hit by early rains, Vande Guchte said. Growers in Wisconsin and upstate New York also suffered damage. That could be good news for growers in Michigan, Wisconsin Illinois and Ohio, who typically compete hard with each other in the summer for business, Vande Guchte said.

“I’m pretty upbeat that we should have a good market,” he said.

On July 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $7.20-7.70 for crates of four dozen yellow and white corn and $7.70-8.20 for bicolor from Georgia. That’s down from $10.35 for yellow and white and $12.35 for bi-color last year at the same time.

About 961 million pounds of sweet corn had shipped through July 8, up from 911 million pounds last year at the same time, according to the USDA.

On July 10, Randy Borgardt, sales manager for Borzynski Bros. Distributing Inc., Franksville, Wis., quoted prices of $8.20-8.70 for yellow corn and $10 for white and bicolor. He predicted prices would remain strong throughout July, then dip when the company’s deal switches to Wisconsin in August.

“It should be profitable through July, but I’m not optimistic about August,” he said.

By August, high yields on the company’s Illinois and Wisconsin crops should begin to drive prices down, Borgardt said. Borzynski’s Illinois fields were yielding 500 crates per acre, about 100 crates above average, he said. The company’s Wisconsin fields could yield up to 450 crates per acre, also 100 above average.



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