Wet spring delays Midwestern sweet corn harvest - The Packer

Wet spring delays Midwestern sweet corn harvest

06/25/2008 12:00:00 AM
Andy Nelson

(June 25, 3:45 p.m.) Midwestern sweet corn growers look forward to strong markets in July and August, but supplies could be spotty for Labor Day promotions.

Borzynski Bros. Distributing Inc., Franksville, Wis., expects to begin harvesting in Illinois July 9, about nine days late, due to a wet spring, said Randy Borgardt, sales manager.

Buurma Farms Inc., Willard, Ohio, expects to begin harvesting the last week of July, about a week to 10 days late, with supplies peaking around Labor Day, said Loren Buurma, co-owner.

Superior Sales Inc., Hudsonville, Mich., expects to begin harvesting July 15-20 and ship through September, said Randy Vande Guchte, president.

Borzynski should wrap its Georgia deal July 1, and the slight gap before the Illinois deal starts should tighten supplies and increase prices, Borgardt said.

And those prices should hold for at least several weeks, he said.

“I think the market and sales opportunities should be pretty good,” Borgardt said. “I think the markets will be $8-10 for most of the summer.”

Markets began rising in Georgia in June, Buurma said, and he expects them to remain strong heading into the Midwestern deals.

“We’re looking for a good market,” he said.

Scott Michael, vice president of Michael Farms Inc., Urbana, Ohio, also reported rising markets and good demand for Midwestern product.

Michael Farms expects to ship through September. On June 23, Michael said stands looked good.

On June 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $8.20-8.70 for wirebound crates of four dozen yellow ears, up from $6.70-7.20 last year at the same time.

Weather problems in New York, Michigan and other states should help keep supplies tight and markets strong, Buurma and Borgardt said.

Looking ahead, Borzynski’s Wisconsin deal could be late, likely causing marketing headaches in September, Borgardt said.

Harvest in the Badger State should begin about Aug. 9, about two weeks later than usual. The company’s Illinois deal should wind up about Aug. 5.

Planting delays in Wisconsin mean that instead of having its usual 400 acres slated for the Labor Day pull, the company only has 80. Illinois could step in and add another 160 acres, Borgardt said, but only “if it gets awfully warm awfully quickly.”

As a result, the company could wind up with a lot of sweet corn to sell after Labor Day, and September is traditionally not a great month for corn sales, Borgardt said.

Vande Guchte agreed that if summer temperatures stay lower than normal, Labor Day could be a problem. But he said there was still plenty of time for warm weather and timely rains to catch up Superior’s sweet corn in time for the holiday.



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