Bergmann said he wasn’t certain how a cold snap that struck Palm Beach County in early October might affect the corn’s development.
He said extreme cold in January and February harmed production and allowed only a few stands to survive toward the end of March.
To help smooth out the gaps caused by Belle Glade’s frequent winter shortages, Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., the fresh division of Oviedo-based A. Duda & Sons Inc., is adding Homestead production.
While Duda in the past had a Homestead presence, Jason Bedsole, sales manager of Eastern vegetables and citrus, said it started a sizeable winter corn operation there.
“We have had a presence there in years past, but we are returning with a good long-term solution for that time period out of Homestead,” he said. “If you follow the last four years, the Glades have been hit with multiple frosts. They haven’t been a consistent supply of corn. That’s why we put this deal together to offer a consistent supply to our customers who have been demanding this.”
Bedsole said Duda expects to begin Homestead production in late December or early January. Volume runs through early April when Belle Glade starts to begin production.
Though the Lake Okeechobee producing area near Belle Glade produces steady volume through early January before production shifts to Homestead, Bergmann said Belle Glade’s winter supplies decline considerably and growers take a big risk trying to grow corn to survive Belle Glade’s freezes.
Though it can start in light volumes in late March, Belle Glade’s spring deal normally returns in mid-April and runs through Memorial Day.
With 6,000 acres, Florida production represents 58% of U.S. fall corn production, according to the USDA.