New York State vegetable growers fear supply gaps - The Packer

New York State vegetable growers fear supply gaps

07/16/2009 05:23:05 PM
Susie Cable

Soggy fields hampered New York vegetable growers’ spring planting, and some growers say there might be gaps in the supply this summer.

New York’s major vegetable crops include sweet corn, squash, cucumbers, cauliflower and snap beans. In early July, growers were cutting cabbage, picking squash and harvesting cauliflower, and most were hoping fields would dry out so they could plant more vegetable crops.

Eden, N.Y.-based Eden Valley Growers’ 150 acres of sweet corn were right on track in early July, said Dave Walczak, sales and operations manager. He expected harvest to be in full swing by late July, and said this season Eden Valley should ship its typical 42,000 crates of 4 dozen ears.

The region’s wet and cool weather in April and May did not harm the co-op’s corn crop. In early July, temperatures were still lower than normal with highs in the low 70s and lows in the 50s to 60s, Walczak said. Usually, highs would be in the upper 70s to lower 80s.
 
Walczak declined to speculate about corn prices in early July, saying it was too early to do so. He said he expects sweet corn supplies to be slightly tight this season. If they are, New York corn prices could be high.

On July 9, with supplies light and demand strong, southern Georgia’s sweet corn prices for pre-cooled wire-bound crates of 4 dozen ears were at $14.95-16.95 for yellow or white, and $14.95 for bicolor, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported. Most of the region’s shippers were done for the season, the report said.

A year earlier, southern Georgia’s sweet corn prices were high because nationwide supply was light, the USDA reported. Prices for pre-cooled wire-bound crates of 4 dozen ears were $14.70 for yellow or bicolor, and $12.70 for white.

Gill Corn Farms Inc., Hurley, N.Y., planted its usual 1,400 acres of sweet corn this season. It was on schedule and quality looked good as of July 6, said Tim Richards, salesman. Though the fields received more rain than was needed at planting time, the company was finishing planting right on schedule on July 6. The fields had dried out and soil conditions were right for planting then, Richards said.

Sweet corn planting went well for A. Gurda Produce Co. Inc., Pine Island, N.Y., said Andrew Gurda, owner. The last two weeks of June brought lower-than-normal high temperatures around 70 degrees and rain, but no flooding. Frequent rainfalls made it difficult to get into the 100 acres of corn to spray for pests or disease, but Gurda said he doesn’t expect quality to be adversely affected.

Gurda Produce lost some early corn to freezing temperatures. Some corn that was under plastic got burned in April when temperatures were in the 90s for a few days, Gurda said. Later crops looked good and will likely be harvested beginning in late July or early August.

Gurda said he expects some gaps in supply because of delays in planting caused by wet fields. He expects to ship about 10,000 bags, each with 50 ears of corn, as he did last year.

Lindy Kubecka, owner of Kubecka Farm, Kirkville, N.Y., said on July 8 that the company’s crop looked good and she expected harvest to begin about July 20. Sweet corn is Kubecka Farm’s largest crop. It has 100 acres of corn and about 100 acres of other vegetables.

Richards also expected Gill Corn to begin harvest by July 20, which is a typical start date, he said.

“We look for a good crop,” Richards said. “It was excellent last year and it should be equivalent this year.”

Richards said Gill Corn shipped more than 400,000 crates of sweet corn last season. He expects the company to ship at least that this season, unless weather problems arise. Gill Corn should finish harvesting by early October.

Eden Valley’s green and yellow squash harvest was under way as of early July. The quality was good and prices were at $8-12 for ½-bushel cartons, Walczak said.

On July 9, ½-bushel cartons of small zucchini squash from Michigan were priced at $8-8.85 and ½-bushel cartons of medium zucchinis were at $6-6.85, the USDA reported.



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