Aww Shucks: Tough Price Year for Florida Sweet Corn Producers

Clint ThompsonCorn, Florida

By Clint Thompson

Sweet corn production has shifted into Georgia. Following the peak season for Florida growers around Memorial Day, the harvest window has shifted northward for producers.

Florida grower Eric Hopkins liked everything about this year’s crop, except the price.

“We certainly could have gotten more money for the crop and probably sold the same amount of units. It’s been a tough deal from that perspective,” Hopkins said. “It has more to do with the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange, which has the ability to meet under the authorization of FFVA (Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association). “We can meet as an Exchange and talk about our crop and in most years try to set a fair price for the buyers and the growers for the spring, when we control the majority of the volume in South Florida. But this year the Exchange chose not to price so it was really just open pricing. It didn’t do very well for the growers.

“Corn quality was very good. The yields have been good. The price has been suffering all season. The price has been cheap, but the corn has been good.

Hopkins emphasized that it was the most volume moved in the state in the last three years. The dry spring helped growers who were trying to move their crop out of the fields.

“If you’re getting a lot of rain this time of year, the muck soil just turns into mud and hard to work equipment in and out of it to harvest. We had favorable weather for harvesting conditions,” Hopkins said.

“We’ve had a lot of rain at our Georgia location. The difference is with that sandier soil, Georgia can absorb a couple of inches of rain and they’re back in the field the next day. If that happens in the Glades area, it’s really tough to get back in the field after a heavy rain.”

Hopkins estimated that he will harvest in Georgia through mid-July, though volume will drop off after July 4.