Indiana sweet corn abundant now, maybe not later in season

July 19, 2012

Indiana sweet corn may be plentiful for the first part of the harvest season, but supply may wane as the year goes on. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Hot, dry conditions are actually causing a glut of Indiana sweet corn from irrigated farms, but Hoosiers could see less of the summertime favorite over the long term, says a Purdue University expert.

Liz Maynard, a Purdue Extension horticulture specialist, said growers with irrigation may have an abundance of sweet corn now because the high temperatures cause sweet corn to mature faster. Plantings that would normally take another week or so to mature are ready now.

Over the entire season, however, consumers may see a decrease in the amount of Indiana corn available.

"Growers who have irrigation are able to have a crop. The folks who don't have irrigation probably will have some serious yield loss," Maynard said. "Even those with irrigation could have trouble because the temperatures have been so hot and there has been so little rain that irrigation may not be enough. Sweet corn that doesn't get enough water may have lower yields or ears that don't completely fill in with kernels."

It's unclear how the supply of sweet corn will affect prices at farm stands throughout the state. Maynard said weather conditions, competition, pricing strategies and costs for growers and farm marketers are varied.

"Some growers may keep prices stable, others may decide to recoup higher irrigation costs with a slight price increase and others may decide to reduce prices if there is a temporary oversupply," Maynard said. "What matters most to the consumer is probably the price and quality at their favorite farm stands or markets, and I can't predict that. The best way to find out is to contact the farm market."

More information about the drought is available at Purdue Extension's website http://www.purdue.edu/drought.


Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050, bwallhei@purdue.edu

Source: Liz Maynard, 219-531-4200, emaynard@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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