Corn, beans and cabbage harmed by rain

07/22/2013 11:16:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Growers are warning buyers to expect gaps in New York sweet corn and green bean production in August and September.

The state’s cabbage deal is also expected to produce smaller volume, growers say.

Heavy rains saturated the ground in spring and left young plants in standing water, causing growers to miss multiple weeks of plantings.

Corn

Jason Turek, partner in Turek Farms, King Ferry, N.Y., said buyers should plan for possible gaps in early September.

Turek missed two weeks of plantings in late May and early June and then saw another 10-day skip in late June and early July.

Mid-July rain limited Turek to finishing just 75% of its plantings.

“The taller corn looks better,” Turek said in mid-July.

“A lot of the younger stuff planted in June has really been beat up by the standing water. I think we should have some nice corn for the end of July and August, but then it gets iffy.”

In early and mid-July, Turek Farms was harvesting in Delaware and expected to start New York production July 20-25.

Eden Valley Growers, Eden, N.Y., began harvesting in light volume in early July but planned to begin heavier volumes in mid-July, later than its normal July 4 start, said Dave Walczak, sales and operations manager.

“The corn is looking very good,” he said in mid-July. “The fields are all pretty even.”

In late June, Walczak said Georgia harvested an abundance of corn, keeping prices low at $5-7 a crate.

On July 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported wirebound crates of 4 dozen yellow, white and bicolor corn eastern Virginia selling for $9.20 while Georgia corn sold for $7.45 for the same varieties.

Other growers that didn’t sustain as much damage say buyers can expect a strong season on corn.

Gill Corn Farms Inc., Hurley, N.Y., planned to begin harvesting July 18, as usual, said Tim Richards, salesman.

Richards said the grower-shipper should produce an excellent crop.

“I think we will have pretty reliable supplies,” Richards said in mid-July.

“We will have a few gaps due to the rain in planting but the weather pattern seems to be leaning toward a warmer and moister summer. It should make any gaps smooth out to where we won’t have as much of a gap.”

He said Gill lost one small planting of early white corn to the rain, but it wasn’t a significant loss.

He said the rest of the corn looks good and Gill was able to plant all of its Labor Day corn on time and should be able to supply retailers during the holiday.

New York’s corn deal runs through September and sometimes into October.

Green beans

Turek said the rain cut his company’s normal green bean volume by a third, and supply gaps could begin in early August.

In mid-July, Turek said the first plantings look strong but said later season beans don’t look as healthy.

“They (growers) struggled to get them in. I think there will be weeks of decent production followed by weeks of nothing, at least for us. We may be in the bean market for a few days and then out for a week.”

Turek planned to begin harvesting July 15 as usual.

In mid-July, Turek said Georgia was still harvesting, longer than its normal July 4 finish and said New Jersey and Delaware started their harvests in late June.

New York, New Jersey and Delaware typically harvest through October.

On July 15, the USDA reported bushel cartons/crates of machine-picked round green beans from the Eastern Shore of Virginia at $21.

It’s a different situation for Torrey Farms Inc., Elba, N.Y., which began shipping July 8.

Maureen Torrey, vice president, said she doesn’t expect losses to be as large.

“The quality looks good and the fields look average,” she said in mid-July.

“We are pleased with how quality is especially considering how the weather has been. We will have skips in them as they had water set. But Mother Nature can bring the skips together. We will have good supplies”

Cabbage

In mid-July, Hansen Farms LLC, Stanley, N.Y., was two weeks behind in its cabbage plantings.

Eric Hansen, vice president, said harvesting began July 10, a week later than normal, but said planting delays and yield losses could cause gaps in August and September.

Promotable volume should commence in mid-July, Hansen said.

“There are areas where there is nothing and lots of areas where we definitely will have yield losses,” he said

Because of the two planting gaps, Hansen was able to plant 600 of its 670 acres and Hansen said the deal likely suffered a 10% to 20% loss.

Though Georgia, Michigan and Ohio were going in production in late June, Hansen said North Carolina could be the season’s wildcard.

He said the Tar Heel state is late in harvesting and could cover the supply gap that is marking the start of New York’s production.

According to the USDA, 50-pound cartons of medium green cabbage from Michigan on July 15 sold for $9-10.

Torrey Farms planned to begin its cabbage harvesting July 15.

Torrey said the season looks to be a strong one.

“The cabbage looks good,” she said in mid-July. “Movement is good now. There’s not an overabundance of it. Some other areas have finished while others haven’t quite got going.”

Torrey said New York growers planted fewer acres.She attributed the smaller plantings to people converting to other grain crops for a variety of reasons, including uncertainty over labor supply and Obamacare.



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