Grower-shippers expect strong demand for high-quality sweet corn as Florida shipments give way to Georgia in late May or early June.

Sweet corn deal to switch from Florida to Georgia by early June

Doug Ohlemeier

Grower-shippers expect strong demand when sweet corn production switches from Florida to Georgia.

A truck shortage has limited how much sweet corn Belle Glade, Fla.-based Wilkinson-Cooper Produce Inc. has been able to ship out of Florida, said Randy Wilkinson, president.

With Florida’s weather woes this year, there was limited movement and many truckers either moved to different shipping areas or went out business, creating the current shortage, Wilkinson said.

“We’re pulling a lot and selling a lot, but we’re not selling enough,” he said. “Transportation has been extremely tough.”

Wilkinson-Cooper expected to sell Florida corn for $8.95 per crate through May 19, then $9.45 through May 30, Wilkinson said.

Steven Johnson, salesman for South Georgia Produce Inc., Lake Park, Georgia, expected good demand heading into summer. After the typical post-Memorial Day lull, demand should steadily pick up in June as July Fourth nears, he said.

On May 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $8.95 for wirebound crates of 4½ dozen ears of yellow, white and bicolor corn from Florida, down from $8.95-9.40 last year at the same time.

Wilkinson-Cooper expects to begin shipping sweet corn from Georgia about May 23, slightly later than normal, Wilkinson said. Florida will likely continue to ship until the first week of May, he said.

South Georgia Produce expects to begin its Georgia deal about May 24, four days later than first expected and slightly late to take full advantage of Memorial Day pull, Johnson said.

Florida could overlap Georgia, he said, though Florida growers have not had a lot of success in the past shipping into June.

South Georgia Produce expects to ship from Georgia through about July 10. Johnson expected outstanding quality out of Georgia this season. Growing weather has been mild to warm with a little rain sprinkled in.

“Our crop looks phenomenal,” he said. “The weather the last two months has been real good.”

Wilkinson also reported excellent quality out of Florida in mid-May.

After three years out of the corn deal, Tifton, Ga.-based Georgia Vegetable Co. Inc. will be shipping again from the Peach State, said Shay Kennedy, co-owner, vice president and sales manager.

Shipments should begin the first week of June and last long enough to take advantage of July Fourth pull, Kennedy said. Georgia Vegetable will ship all three varieties, and distribution will likely extend into the Midwest and the Northeast and possibly even Canada, Kennedy said.

After heavy rain early in May, growers have enjoyed two weeks of excellent growing weather, she said.