Growers optimistic despite early season - The Packer

Growers optimistic despite early season

07/16/2012 02:59:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

It looks to be an early season with a good crop, according to New York state growers, and that’s a relief after widespread damage from hurricanes and bad weather last year.

“We’re starting out well,” said Tim Richards, sales manager for Gill Corn Farms Inc., Hurley, N.Y. “We’ve had a few scary inclement weather episodes but nothing that’s proved to be too bad, and we expect to have a nice crop of corn.”

Richards remembers feeling positive last year as well.

“We had a really good start but were then cut short right at Labor Day with Hurricane Irene. That was the worst thing,” Richards said. “We never picked all that corn we were supposed to pick.”

Still, he’s hopeful and positive about this year, as are other growers.

“We’re starting out optimistic, like every other farmer, and just hoping we don’t have another hurricane.”

Jason Turek, partner at Turek Farms, King Ferry, N.Y., says we’ve gone from one extreme to the other with last year to this year as far as timing is concerned.

“Last year was about the latest we’ve had, and this year is one of the earliest, but it’s still close to what we would call normal now,” Turek said.

Turek did report some concerns after an early start to the season when exceptionally warm weather in March and April gave way to about 9 inches of snow on the first few hundred acres that were planted.

“The cabbage came through it OK, but the corn does have some weak spots in it,” he said.

Still, he said he’s optimistic about the season and that he expects a good crop.

Cabbage and other vegetables

Eric Hansen, vice president of Hansen Farms LLC, Stanley, N.Y., also reported some early damage because of the unexpected snowfall.

“We got a real early start but then got shut down for maybe three and a half weeks with wet and cold,” Hansen said.

“Those early crops had a lot of stress so they’ll be set back a little bit with a possible little gap in July after all that rain and snow. There were crops in the ground with snow on them,” he said.

Still, he said what’s in the field looks excellent and he expects a good season.

Dave Walczak, sales and operations manager for Eden, N.Y.-based Eden Valley Growers Inc., said everything seems to be on time if not early by about a week, with the quality looking well.

Maureen Torrey, vice president of Torrey Farms Inc., Elba, N.Y., also reports good quality in the field.

“The crops have gone into the ground very well compared to the last couple years,” she said. “The crops look excellent overall.”

She expected to start around July 10 with cabbage and around July 15 with beans, squash and cucumbers.

Onions and potatoes

Andrew Gurda, owner of A. Gurda Produce Co. Inc., Pine Island, N.Y., said “So far so good,” about this year’s onions.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Gurda said, but he’s pleased with what he’s seen so far and expects a good harvest at the end of August.

The potatoes also looked good in early July, according to John Williams, partner at Williams Farms LLC, Marion, N.Y.



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