Georgia sweet corn harvest should mirror year’s - The Packer

Georgia sweet corn harvest should mirror year’s

09/11/2002 12:00:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

(Sept. 11) Georgia’s smaller but longer fall sweet corn deal should produce acceptable yields, grower-shippers say. Sweet corn grower-shippers say buyers should expect volume to be similar to last year.

Planted acreage is expected to be similar to last year as well, grower-shippers say.

The state’s sweet corn deal is expected to begin Sept. 15 and continue through Thanksgiving or the first frost.

“If we don’t run into any Mother Nature problems, I imagine we will see good yields and a good return,” said Gibson Wilkinson Jr., salesman for Wilkinson-Cooper Produce Inc., Belle Glade, Fla., in mid-August. Wilkinson-Cooper Produce packs sweet corn out of its Camilla, Ga., facility, in southwest Georgia.

PRICES LOWER

Prices this year are not as high as last fall, where cool mornings helped increase prices because of smaller seasonable expectations, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In mid-September, four dozen of yellow out of New York’s Hudson Valley sold for $8. White sold for $10 and bicolor for $9-10.

In mid-August, Georgia sweet corn prices were $4-5, said Wilkinson.

Last year, the season opened with wirebound crates 4- to 4½-dozen yellow and white selling for $7. By early October, bicolor wirebound crates 4- to 4½-dozen sold for $9-10. Towards the close of the season, in late October, wirebound crates 4- to 4½-dozen yellow and white had dropped to $6-7, and bicolor declined to $6.

Fall Georgia prices are dependent on conditions in the Northeast.

“If they (New York) get knocked out with a freeze or early frost, it could be a good deal for us,” said Rick Erwin, general manager of S.M. Jones & Co. Inc., Canal Point, Fla., which has a 700-acre sweet corn growing and packing operation in Bainbridge, Ga.

S.M. Jones & Co., which has three Georgia growers, packed nearly 1.5 million packages for the spring, a substantial increase in volume and yields, Erwin said. S.M. Jones & Co.’s Bainbridge operation has been running since 1998.

“You just get a lot more people growing (corn) now in Georgia,” Wilkinson said in explaining the lower prices this fall.

SPRING MARKETS

This year’s spring market ranged from $6-7 for 4- to 4½-dozen wirebound crates, said Carl Lynn, general manager of Sweet Corn Co-op Inc., Bainbridge.

“We had a real good spring season,” he said. “There were good markets and growing conditions. After the Fourth of July, prices got to $8-10. Everybody up here was out of corn.”


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