By Clint Thompson
Florida sweet corn producers experiencing high volume right now are reaping the rewards of a depressed supply.
Prices are extremely high right now, though, Florida’s spring crop should be ramping up production soon, says Tori Rumenik, commodity services and supply chain manager for the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. She highlighted why farmers are able to ask and receive high prices for their corn crop.
“I’ve talked to a couple of our handlers, and it’s all about supply and demand,” Rumenik said. “First, this is typically a lower volume part of the season anyway. It’s before we head into those big movement months in the spring. Then you compound that with that freeze in South Florida in mid-January. A significant amount of that acreage was impacted. Some growers saw yield loss, and others saw total losses. Those were the plantings that should be harvesting now.
“Supply is down. What this really means is growers that have corn to sell are having a great three weeks, but we know that’s not going to last forever.”
Temperatures dropped into the low 30s and high 20s in some areas around the Belle Glade, Florida area during the weekend of Jan. 13. It led to freeze burn damage in some of the corn, which stalled production in locations impacted by the cold temperatures.
But as Rumenik pointed out, the current dry spell for sweet corn production will not last forever.
“We know volume is coming. Again, we had some of those losses from the freeze in January, so we expected the bulk might be delayed a few weeks or so from normal. But we should start seeing moderate shipping increases the first few weeks of March, and things will really ramp up around Easter and push through Memorial Day,” Rumenik said.
Sweet corn production is held in Florida from November through May. It is too hot during the summer for production. Though volume is decreased this time of year, there is a winter season for the state’s growers.