• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Production environment
 Economic trends in commercial sweet...
 Production practices
 Harvesting and handling sweet...
 Marketing sweet corn
 Returns to growers and market...
 Basic problems of the sweet corn...
 Tables






Group Title: Agricultural economics report - University of Florida Dept. of Agricultural Economics ; no. 60-8
Title: Some economic problems in the Florida sweet corn industry
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 Material Information
Title: Some economic problems in the Florida sweet corn industry
Physical Description: 23 p. : ; .. cm.
Language: English
Creator: Brooke, D. L.
University of Florida -- Agricultural Experiment Station. -- Dept. of Agricultural Economics
Publisher: University of Florida. Dept. of Agricultural Economics.
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1960
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Statement of Responsibility: by D.L. Brooke.
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Table of Contents
        Page i
    Production environment
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Economic trends in commercial sweet corn production
        Page 6
    Production practices
        Page 7
    Harvesting and handling sweet corn
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Marketing sweet corn
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Returns to growers and market demand
        Page 12
    Basic problems of the sweet corn industry
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Tables
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
Full Text





February 1960


Agricultural Ecoromics
Mimeo. Report 60-8


SOME ECONOMIC PROBLEMS IN THE FLORIDA SHEET CORN INDUSTRY






by

Donald L. Brooke
Associate Agricultural Economist


Department of Agricultural Economics
Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations
Gainesville, Florida









TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page


Introduction .* * . . . e .

Production Environment . . . .


Production areas . .
Seasonal pattern of production
Soil types . . .
Drainage and irrigation # .
Size of farm and type of farming
Farm management problems .
Production risks . .


Economic Trends in Commercial Sweet Corn Production .


0 0 0


Production Practices . . . *. e .


Seed and seeding .
Fertilization practices
Cultivation *
Insect and disease control


Harvesting and Handling Sweet Corn . . . .


Containers
Precooling
Grades ,
Inspection


Marketing Sweet Corn . .


a 0 0 0


Movement of sweet corn and competition
Transportation .
Sales organization and methods of sale
Outlets .* .. . .
Distribution * .
Prices of sweet corn .* .


Returns to Growers and Market Demand .... .. .* *


Basic Problems of the Sweet Corn Industry .


. 0 0 0 0 0


Appendix . . . *


* a S S
. 0 5 5
* 0 5 S
6 oo0oo


. 0 o 0 4















SOME ECONOMIC PROBLEMS IN THE FLORIDA SWEET CORN INDUSTRY


by

D. L. Brookel


Introduction


The material contained herein was prepared to present selected
economic data relative to the production and marketing of sweet corn
for fresh market in Florida before a Hearing on a proposed State
Marketing Order on January 7, 1960. This publication is presented
to furnish growers and others with similar information which they may
find useful in making future production or policy decisions relating
to the sweet corn industry in the State. More specifically the
material presented concerns:

1. The economic background of the production of
sweet corn in Florida.

2. Trends in the production of sweet corn.

3. Some aspects of cost, price and income problems
of sweet corn growers in Florida.

Production Environment

Production areas.--Sweet corn (green corn) for fresh market con-
sumption has been produced commercially in more than 25 counties in the
Peninsula of Florida at some time during the past twelve seasons, At
present, major production is in the Everglades area of western Palm Beach
County and parts of Hendry and Glades counties, adjacent to the shores of
Lake Okeechobee. The second largest area of production is that known as
the Zellwood area located in Lake and Orange counties. The third area of
importance is the Lower East Coast, comprised of Dade and Broward counties


1Associate Agricultural Economist, Florida Agricultural Experiment
Stations, Gainesville, Florida.










and that portion of Palm Beach County lying east of the range line between
Range 40 East and Range 41 East. Areas of minor importance are:
(1) Immokalee-Ft. Myers (Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties), (2) Manatee-
Ruskin (Sarasota, Manatee and southern Hillsborough counties), (3) Plant
City-Wauchula (eastern IIillsborough, Polk, DeSoto and Hardee counties,
(4) Seminole County, (5) Ft. Pierce (Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and
Brevard counties), (6) North Florida (counties north of the Citrus-Sumter-
Lake-Volusia county lines).

During the 1958-59 season over 74 percent of Florida's production
was in the Everglades area, 17 percent in the Zellwood area, 5 percent in
the Lower East Coast area and only about 3 percent from all other areas
combined.

Seasonal pattern of production.--Sweet corn has had a changing
seasonal production pattern. Florida growers have been extending their
production in the fall and winter months in addition to increasing total
production.

During the most recent season for which data are available (1958-
59) about 19 percent of the season's production was harvested in the fall,
16 percent in the winter and 65 percent in the spring. Of the 9,000 acres
for fall harvest, 96 percent was in the Everglades area, 1 percent in
Zellwood and 3 percent in other areas. Of the 7,800 acres harvested
during the winter, 58 percent was in the Everglades, 49 percent in the
Lower East Coast and 3 percent in other areas. There were 31,000 acres
harvested in the spring of 1959 of which 76 percent was in the Everglades,
17 percent in Zellwood, 1 percent in the Lower East Coast and 6 percent
in other Florida areas.

Soil types.--Sweet corn is grown on a variety of soil types
ranging from fine sands to highly calcareous marl, "custard apple" muck
and "saw grass" peat soils. In the important Everglades area, peat and
muck soils of the "custard apple" and "saw grass" types are found in
depths ranging from 3 to 10 feet. In the Zellwood area are found muck
and mucky peat soils varying in depth from 4 to 19 feet. These soils
are underlain with limestone or marl. Soils of the Lower East Coast
range from the highly calcareous Perrine marl over oolite limerock
found in Dade County to the Leon-Portsmouth sands and fine sands of
Broward and eastern Palm Beach counties. Light sandy soils of the Leon-
Portsmouth, and Norfolk series are found in the other areas where sweet
corn is produced. They are underlain at a depth of from 18 inches to
several feet with a clay or organic hardpan and are in general poorly
drained.

Drainage and irrigation.--All areas of the state producing sweet
corn are relatively level. Although the level land lends itself to large
fields, moisture control is a problem and the necessary drainage ditches
and water furrows tend to cut up the fields. Water furrows connecting
with perimeter ditches reduce the danger of flooding by heavy rains.









Where pumps are available excess water may be drawn off more quickly and in
case of dry weather the ditches and furrows may be filled to provide irri-
gation by seepage. In the Everglades and Zellwood areas the desired moisture
level can be maintained by controlling the level of water in the drainage
ditches and canals. Mole drains are opened each year under these fields
with special equipment. They run from one ditch almost to the other at
about 10 foot intervals. In other areas some farms are equipped with
portable sprinkler systems although these appear to be little used for
sweet corn.

Size of farm and type of farming.--Sweet corn is seldom grown com-
mercially on small farms in Florida. Specialized equipment for its pro-
duction and harvesting is expensive. Therefore, few small farmers have
been able to afford the capital outlay required for its production. Some
small farms in the Sanford area grew corn following early celery prior to
the middle 50's. Small acreages and expensive disease and insect hand-
control methods could not compete with large scale machine methods. The
small farmer in South Florida also was forced to abandon sweet corn pro-
duction. Some small farming operations still exist in North Florida
where insects and diseases are less of a problem.

On the Lower East Coast and in the Immokalee-Ft. Myers area growers
operate on a cash or share rental basis and relatively few own their land.
There are more owner-operators in the Everglades area but a sizeable acre-
age is cash rented. Growers in Zellwood are owner-operators and cash
renters. Sanford and North Florida growers are generally owner-operators.
The United States Census of Agriculture reported 69 farmers growing sweet
corn in Palm Beach Countyl in 1954 with an average of 271 acres per farm.
In 1954, 19 growers in the Immokalee-Ft. Myers area planted an average of
100 acres each to sweet corn and in the Broward-Dade area 22 growers
averaged 87 acres each. Average acreage per farm in other counties of
commercial importance ranged from 43 to 63.

Costs of production records2 for sweet corn in major areas for
the five-year period 1952-53 to 1956-57 were obtained from growers. These
averaged 749 acres each in the Everglades area, 237 acres in the Immokalee-
Ft. Myers area,3 179 acres in the Pompano area, and 4174 acres in Zellwood.
The foregoing data reflect, perhaps, the medium and large growers in the
areas studied but they also indicate the relative size of sweet corn growers
in the areas of commercial importance. In more recent seasons the Pompano


1No breakdown of eastern and western Palm Beach County available.
2D. L. Brooke, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta., Agr, Econ. Mimeo Report 58-8,
March 1958.

3Four-year average 1953-54 to 1956-57.

41956-57 season only.











area (Lower East Coast) and the Immokalee-Ft. Myers area have decreased both
in number of growers and volume of production. The Everglades area has
increased in volume while Zellwood production has held rather steady.5

In the Everglades area several vegetable crops compete with sweet
corn. Many of the farmers who grow corn also grow snap beans, celery,
leaf crops or Irish potatoes. Some growers produce as many as nine dif-
ferent vegetable crops. Snap beans and celery are, perhaps, most com-
petitive with sweet corn for land and labor. The average net returns
from celery and snap beans were greater than the average for sweet corn
in the five-year period 1952-53 to 1956-57. Less investment per acre
is required for snap beans and more investment per acre for celery than
for sweet corn. There are, no doubt, some advantages in the use of labor
and equipment where these crops are produced on the same farms. Any returns
from sweet corn above cash costs of production may increase net farm income,
although a loss might be indicated if the sweet corn enterprise had to bear
its share of the indirect costs.

In the Zellwood area sweet corn competes with celery and leaf crops
for land in the spring season. Winter temperatures and susceptibility to
frost damage preclude winter sweet corn production in Zellwood. Average
net returns for celery have been greater than those for sweet corn in
recent seasons.

Farm management problems.--The sweet corn grower encounters serious
farm management problems usually associated with specialized enterprises
having short seasons of production, peak labor requirements and high cash
costs of production. Land preparation, planting, cultivating, spraying and
harvesting one crop of sweet corn does not extend over a period of more than
four months. Peak labor requirements occur at harvest, complicating the
problem of having an adequate labor supply. Large growers with staggered
plantings find harvest labor less of a problem than smaller growers who
harvest only once per season. Producing a quality product relatively free
of disease and insect infestation is the most expensive production problem.
Growing cost varies from $167 to $250 per acre, 20 to 30 percent of which
is the cost of insect and disease prevention and control.

Specialized equipment for spraying and harvesting sweet corn has
been developed and improved over the past 10 years. This equipment is
costly both from the initial capital outlay and annual upkeep. A small
grower with one crop of corn cannot justify its purchase for the few days
per year of its use. Larger growers with multiple plantings of corn use
such equipment more efficiently and can justify its cost.

Production risks.--Temperature, rainfall, high winds, insect pests
and plant diseases are important factors in the production of sweet corn.
Most growers in Florida are limited in planting fall and winter crops by
frost hazards. Damaging frosts as early as November 18 have been experienced


5USDA, AMS, Florida Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Florida
Vegetable Crops, Volumes IX to XIV.










in the Everglades area.6 As much as 7.1 inches of rain in a day and 19.3
inches in a month have occurred in Belle Glade during the corn planting
season within the past 12 years.7 Winds of hurricane force have been
experienced as late as mid-November in South Florida.

The incidence and severity of disease is also related to weather.
Cox and Harrison found that "the severity of northern corn leaf blight
during the spring seasons of 1955, 1956 and 1957 was related to mean
weekly minimum temperature, mean weekly relative humidity and frequency
of rains. The disease was checked when the weekly mean minimum temperature
was less than 60oF., the mean weekly humidity less than 60 percent, and
when rains occurred less frequently than at weekly intervals."8 Insect
as well as disease activity is related to weather.

Variations from year-to-year in rainfall, temperature and light
conditions cause a large variation in yield per acre and, consequently,
total production. During the ten-year period, 1949-50 to 1958-59, average
yield for sweet corn in the state ranged from 60 hundredweights per acre
in 1949-50, to 95 hundredweights in 1954-55. Total production in the
1955-56 season on 37,500 acres harvested was 3,513,000 hundredweights,
compared to 2,701,000 hundredweights on 42,700 harvested acres in 1956-57.
Because of the location of sweet corn production in the state, weather
may have a much greater effect on yield per acre in one area than in
another. Also, one farmer may lose his crop completely while another
farmer in the same or nearby area may suffer little or no damage. In
the 1957-58 season the average yields per acre for the winter crop were
26.4 hundredweights in the Everglades area and 83.6 hundredweights in
the Lower East Coast area. For the spring crop in the same season yields
were 73.0 and 54.1 hundredweights, respectively. Differences in yield
between the Everglades and Zellwood areas were even greater for the 1958
spring crop. Variations in temperature and humidity cause variation in
the number of days between planting and maturity of a crop as well as in
the incidence of disease. Fall and late spring yields are usually higher
than yields of winter and early spring sweet corn.

Losses in planted acreage may result from weather or from insect
and disease infestation. Florida losses have ranged from 2,400 acres in
the 1951-52 season to 11,700 acres in the 1957-58 season and averaged
5,100 acres per year since 1949-50. Price considerations may cause
abandonment of some production. Such losses have occurred in five of
the past 10 seasons. They ranged from 88,000 hundredweights in 1951-52
to 600,000 hundredweights in the 1953-54 season. Average economic abandon-
ment for the period 1949-50 to 1958-59 has been 121,000 hundredweights.

6D. E. McCloud and D. S. Harrison, "Thirty-three Years of Belle
Glade Weather," Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Circ. S-105, April, 1958, p. 2.

71bid. p. 9.

8R. S. Cox and D. S. Harrison, "Factors Affecting the Incidence
and Control of Northern Corn Leaf Blight in Sweet Corn Production in the
Everglades," Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 596, May 1958. p. 19.











All such losses have occurred when season average prices were below
$4.50 per hundredweight at the shipping point.


Economic Trends in Commercial Sweet
Corn Production

Commercial production of sweet corn in Florida is of relatively
recent origin. First statistics of record indicate the planting of 8,200
acres in the 1947-48 season. Of this amount, 6,000 acres were harvested.
Acreage harvested doubled in each of the two succeeding seasons. In the
1949-50 season 28,500 acres ware harvested. Acreage expansion proceeded,
but at a slower rate, after 1949-50. In 1958-59 some 48,900 acres of
sweet corn were harvested, the largest acreage to date.9

Yields per acre increased as new varieties and better methods of
insect and disease control were introduced. However, yields have not
increased nearly so rapidly as acreage planted. I'er-acre yields were
40 hundredweights in 1947-48, 60 hundredweights in 1949-50 and reached
a peak of 95 hundredweights in the 1954-55 season. Yields of fall corn
ranged from 30 hundredweights in 1950 to 80 hundredweights in 1955.
Winter corn yields have ranged from 58 to 82 hundredweights in the 1949
and 1955 seasons, respectively. Yields for the spring crop were 58
hundredweights in 1949 and 100 hundredweights in the 1955 and 1956 seasons.

Production of sweet corn was 240,000 hundredweights in 1947-48.
By 1949-50 Florida growers were harvesting nearly 1.5 million hundred-
weights. Expansion of production proceeded at a slower rate after the
1949-50 season. Peak production to date was in the 1955-56 season when
3.5 million hundredweights were harvested.10

The Everglades has been the largest sweet corn producing area
since the 1948-49 season. In that season this area harvested nearly
40 percent of the state's production, Zellwood 20 percent, North Florida
counties 13 percent, the Lower East Coast 2 percent and other counties
25 percent. In the 1953-54 season 58 percent of the state's production
was in the Everglades area, 17 percent in Zellwood, nearly 14 percent in
the Lower East Coast, less than 3 percent in North Florida counties and
8 percent in other areas. By 1958-59, as shown earlier, over 74 percent
of Florida's production was in the Everglades area, 17 percent in the
Zellwood area, 5 percent in the Lower East Coast and only about 3 per-
cent from all other areas. Everglades and Zellwood production has been
more stable than that of other areas. Expansion of the industry has been
due primarily to increasing production in South Florida with the Everglades
area predominant. Sweet corn has supplanted some acreage formerly devoted
to snap beans and minor vegetable crops in the Everglades growers' pro-
duction program.


9Appendix Table 1.


10Appendix Table 2.









Production Practices

Modern and specialized farm machinery is used for land preparation,
planting, cultivating and harvesting the crop. Most growers use multiple-
row tractor-drawn equipment for planting, spraying and cultivating oper-
ations. All producers purchase certified hybrid seed each year and generally
follow recommended practices for fertilizer rates, insect and disease control
and other practices.

Seed and seediL .--The yellow seeded varieties are dominant but
interest is increasing in white varieties of corn. Among the yellow seeded
varieties, Golden Security, Seneca Wampum, Gold Rush, Florigold and R-8 are
i.nportant. Among the white seeded varieties Silver Liner and White Hybrid
No. 31 are most popular. From 10 to 18 pounds of seed are required to plant
an acre. The cost of seed varies with variety. The average cost for the
five seasons 1952-53 to 1956-57 ranged from $4.93 per acre in the Everglades
to $7.73 in the Pompano or Lower East Coast area.

Fertilizationp ractices.-Nearly all Florida soils are deficient in
the so-called essential plant foods, namely nitrogen, phosphorus and potash,
Th-. muck soils ordinarily contain a good supply of nitrogen but are defi-
cient in manganese and copper.

Sweet corn growers in the Everglades area apply from 800 to 1,000
p,inds of a 0-12-16, 0-10-10 or 0-8-24 mixture per acre. Their five-season
.-e-.rage (1932-53 to 1956-57) cost per acre for fertilizer was $27.44.
Growers on sandy soils apply from 1,000 to 3,000 pounds per acre of a
4-12-6 or 4-8-8 fertilizer. In addition, there may be one or two appli-
cations of 100 pounds of Ammonium Nitrate or Nitrate of Soda per acre.
Fertilizer costs on sandy soils average around $75 per acre. Growers in
Zellwood used about one ton of fertilizer per acre at an average cost of
$47 in 1956-57.

Cultivation.--Corn is cultivated two to three times with multiple-
rov equipment. Some growers in Zellwood are using pre- and post-emergence
w-eed killers to reduce weeds and grass during harvest. Everglades' growers
apparently cannot use chemical methods of weed control as effectively.

Insect and disease control.--The control of insect pests and plant
diseases is a major problem in the production of sweet corn. All growers
folinw an active control program, applying insecticides and fungicides
mra:rly in the wet spray form. The majority of growers use multiple-row
poa-er-driven sprayers. Airplane sprayers and dusters are also used to a
considerable extent, particularly when fields contain an excess of moisture.

Sweet corn is subject to insect attack from time of seeding until
harvest. Corn earworms, fall armyworms, corn-silk fly, cut worms, wireworms,
lesser corn-stalk borers, webworms, aphids and sugarcane borers all attach
sweet corn. Parathion, DDT, toxaphene, aldrin and chlordane are used in the











spray program in controlling these insects.11 Helminthosporium is the major
disease of sweet corn in Florida. "Results of experiments and the experience
of growers have indicated that leaf blights can be effectively controlled by
timely applications of sprays containing nabam (plus zinc sulfate) or zineb."12

Most growers follow a preventive rather than a control program for
insects and disease. The crop is sprayed or dusted at 2-to 7-day intervals
depending upon season of the year, current weather conditions and the inci-
dence of diseases or insects. Applications probably average at least two
a week. As few as 10 or as many as 30 sprayings or dustings may be made in
producing one crop. The materials for a chemical control program in the
Everglades area cost about $45, in Zellwood about $65 and in other areas of
South Florida about $50 per acre. These figures do not include cost of labor
and equipment for applying the materials.


Harvesting and Handling Sweet Corn

Sweet corn matures in from 69 to 100 days from seeding, depending
upon variety, day length, temperature, moisture, fertilization and other
factors.13 The ears must be pulled at the proper stage of maturity and
placed under refrigeration with the least possible delay in order to pre-
serve eating quality. "Tender sweet corn held at ordinary temperatures is
quickly converted to tough, starchy, unpalatable corn."13

Two distinct methods are in use for the harvesting of sweet corn:
(1) Tractor-drawn trailer operation with packing bins either in the field
or in nearby sheds; (2) a self-propelled field-harvester operation by so-
called "mule-trains."

1. In the case of method number one, a crew of four to six pullers
with a tractor-drawn trailer moves through the field, pulling
matured ears from the stalks and loading the trailer. Full
trailer loads are pulled to the end of the field or a nearby
shed for packing. The corn is graded and packed by hand into
shipping containers, loaded aboard trucks and delivered to
the precooler. This method is most used in the sand land
areas of Florida and is still in use by commercial harvesting
contractors in the muckland areas. It is more flexible than
method two in that output may be increased by adding more labor.

Commercial harvesting contractors may be hired on a piece rate
basis to harvest and haul corn by method one. They harvest


ll. A. Hills, et al, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 520, July 1953, pp.
16-28.
12W. N. Stoner, et al, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Circ. S-105, January
1954, p. 5.
13 s, Op. ci. pp. 12-16.
Hills, Op. cit. pp. 12-16.











about 50 percent of the Everglades' crop. These contractors
furnish all labor for pulling and packing. The grower furnishes
tractors and trailers or carts, in most cases. Harvesting by
this method costs $0.30 to $0.40 per crate depending upon
distance of haul to precooler and other factors.

2. In the case of method two, self-propelled corn harvesters,
commonly called "mule-trains," are operated with 40 to 50
laborers. Corn is pulled by hand and tossed onto endless
belts on either side of the machine's front as it moves down
the rows. Usually 16 rows at a time are harvested by the
machine. The ears are transported onto the machine and across
a packing table. Crates, stored and assembled on top of the
machine, are chuted down to packers. Packers grade the ears,
fill the crates and set them off on a roller-conveyor. Lids
are closed and crates pushed to back of the machine to be
loaded on trucks for transporting to a precooler. This method
involves less hauling and handling of ears, resulting perhaps,
in less bruising, slightly higher yields and more rapid move-
ment of corn from stalk to precooler--a prime factor in pre-
serving eating quality. The harvester does reduce flexibility
of operation. Each machine has a certain capacity per hour;
therefore, the only method of increasing output is to
increase the number of hours operated. A crew of the size
quoted above will pull and pack 3,500 to 4,000 crates under
ideal conditions in a 10-hour day. Harvesters cost $3,000 to
$7,000 each, depending upon size and quality. If celery har-
vesters are converted for use in corn their cost is much
higher.

Labor for the harvester is employed by the grower. They may be
paid on a piece rate or day basis. Keeping a trained packing
crew may be a problem unless plantings are staggered to
furnish continuous work during the season. Costs by this
method range from $0.20 to $0.28 per crate delivered to a
precooler.

Containers.--Sweet corn is packed in two sizes of wirebound boxes
(crates). The most common size measures approximately 22 x 11 x 9 inches.14
A slightly wider crate is used for sweet corn varieties of longer than
average ear length. Both crates hold from four to six dozen ears. Container
costs range from $0.32 to $0.35 each, .depending upon source of supply and
volume purchased.

Precooling.--Sweet corn must be precooled quickly after being pulled
from the stalk in order to preserve its eating qualities. This may be accom-
plished by either of two methods: (1) Hydrocooling or (2) vacuum cooling.


14p. ct. p. 16.
Hills, Op. cit, p. 16.









Hydrocooling is by far the most commonly used method, The filled crates are
passed through an ice water bath and the temperature of the corn is quickly
lowered. Vacuum cooling is accomplished by placing the crates inside a
large tube which is then closed tightly. By a vacuum process the heat is
drawn out of the corn and its temperature reduced to about 38-400F. After
being cooled by either method corn should be refrigerated until it reaches
the consumer. The cost of hydrocooling and initial icing averaged about
$0.22 per crate. Ten cents was the cost of initial icing during the 1956-57
season.15

Grades.--United States Standards for Green Corn16 were set up in May,
1954, by Congress upon the recommendation of the U. S. Department of Agri-
culture. These provide for green corn grades to be known as U. S. Fancy,
U. S. No. 1 and U. S. No. 2. Differences in grade are the result of
differences in cob length, kernel filling, insect and disease injury,
clipping, tip filling and mechanical or other damage. Specified tolerances
are permitted within each grade and visual inspection by trained personnel
is used to determine proper grade.

In actual practice, corn is sold on the basis of U. S. Fancy grade
and the buyers prefer a certificate showing a percentage of U. S. Fancy
quality. A certificate showing a lower grade such as U. S. No. 1 immedi-
ately becomes a price lowering factor. There are periods during each
season when prices are not high enough to cover cost of containers, pre-
cooling, selling and transportation on U. S. No. 2 corn or on corn grading
84 percent or less U. S. Fancy. At such times large quantities of corn
must be left in the field.

A sample of the inspection certificates issued during the 1958-59
marketing season, representing 38 percent of the volume sold, indicates
that Florida corn was graded 71 percent U. S. Fancy, 18.2 percent 85 to
90 percent U. S. Fancy, 8.4 percent 75 to 84 percent U. S. Fancy and 2.4
percent as 74 percent or less U. S. Fancy.

Inspection.--During the 1958-59 season approximately 69 percent of
the sweet corn shipped from Florida was inspected and certified as to
grade or condition by the Federal-State Inspection Service.


Marketing Sweet Corn

Movement of sweet corn and competition.--Sweet corn is shipped from
Florida from mid-October to the following July of each season. Shipments
from the Everglades area lead all other areas except in the months of
February, June and July. Sweet corn from the Lower East Coast moves to
market from November through May. The Zellwood area markets in May and
June. Less than 1,200 cars per year are shipped from minor producing
areas in Florida. Over 70 percent of the Florida crop is marketed in
April, May and June.


15D. L. Brooke, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta., Agr. Econ. Mimeo Report 58-8.

16United States Standards for Green Corn (19 F.R. 2221) Effective
May 18, 1954.










Sweet corn from Florida competes with a light movement from California
during October and early November of each season. Florida is the sole pro-
ducer of sweet corn from December through mid-April. Corn from California,
Texas and Arizona is marketed during May and June. Alabama, Louisiana and
Georgia offer slight competition during the month of June. The movement
reported from other states was about one-sixth of the total domestic ship-
ment during Florida's 1958-59 season.17

Transportation.--Sweet corn is transported to market by rail and truck.
Shipments by truck have increased significantly in the past five years.
During the 1954-55 season trucks hauled 44 percent of the total shipments.
In the 1958-59 season, 61 percent of the total volume from Florida moved
by truck.18

Sales organization and methods of sale.--There are three major classes
of sellers involved in marketing sweet corn in Florida. They may be iden-
tified as (1) individual growers whose sales are limited to all or part of
their own crop, (2) grower cooperatives which market for their members, and
(3) other sellers which include private agencies and brokers. Data are not
available on the proportion of sales by various classes of sellers.

In general, sales of sweet corn in Florida are made on an F.O.B.
shipping point basis. Selling by consignment, on a delivered or price
arrival basis may be used by some sales agencies in exceptional cases.

Outlets.--Since there is no record of Florida sweet corn having been
utilized for canning or freezing in commercial quantities it must be assumed
that all of it is sold for fresh market consumption. Outlets, then, are
limited to chain organizations, wholesalers and others engaged in the
servicing of retail stores, restaurants, etc. handling fresh produce.

Distribution.--Data on distribution of corn are available only for some
35 cities reported by the Florida State Marketing Bureau.19 Those cities
received 69 percent of Florida's sweet corn shipments in 1958-59. The
data indicate that: (1) Shipments by rail are greater than shipments by
truck to the more distant markets of the Northeast and Midwest, (2) truck
shipments predominate to southern and western markets, (3) the larger
cities receive the largest supply of Florida corn, (4) Florida's market
for corn, as for most other vegetables, is in the eastern half of the
United States. Florida shi.ps relatively little corn to destinations north
of Texas that are west of the Mississippi River, (5) Florida's shipments
to these 35 markets are about one-fourth of their total receipts of corn
during the year. Since Florida producers are shipping sweet corn at leaot
eight months of the year to these markets, they should, by some means, be
able to command a larger share of the total market. (The 35 markets
reported received 23,623 carlots of corn from other states and 7,696 car-
lot equivalents from Florida during the period August 1, 1958 through
July 31, 1959.)

17D. L. Brooke, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta., Agr. Econ. Mimeo Report 60-3.
18
1Appendix Table 3.
19
1E. F, Scarborough, Florida State Marketing Bureau, "Annual Agri-
cultural Statistical Summary, 1958-59," p. 123.










Prices of sweet corn.--Prices received for sweet corn by Florida
growers depend upon: (1) The season of the year in which the corn is
sold, (2) the size of the Florida crop, (3) volume of competing products,
and (4) the general price level.

The normal pattern for Plorida sweet corn prices is a sharp
decline from October to Uovember, an increase to February, a decline
through May and a slight increase in June. Monthly average prices rise
and fall inversely with the volume shipped from Florida. For the five-
year period 1954-55 through 1958-59, prices in January, February and
March were 26 to 31 percent above and prices in May 21 percent below the
annual average price.20

From year-to-year, there tends to be an inverse relation between
production of sweet corn in Florida and prices received by farmers. If
production increases, prices decline and if production decreases, prices
increase. Since 1948 there has been a sharp upward trend in the pro-
duction of sweet corn. Prices, although fluctuating somewhat have
shown a downward trend. The price of $3.88 per hundredweight received
for the 1954-55 crop is the lowest season average price to date.21

In only one of the past five crop years has the average price
received for sweet corn in Florida been higher than the Florida parity
equivalent.22 In two of the five years, average prices received were
equivalent to 90 and 97 percent of parity. In the 1954-55 and 1955-56
seasons, Florida's season average price was less than 90 percent of the
state parity price equivalent. The base period for these parity calcu-
lations is the average of prices received in the ten-year period immedi-
ately preceding the year being reported. If they were on the same base
period as that used for some of our basic commodities the figures would
be much lower.

Data from the U. S. Department of Agriculture indicate also that
Florida prices for fall sweet corn have been equal to 90 percent or more
of the Florida parity equivalent price in one of the past five seasons,
for winter corn in five of the past six seasons and for spring harvested
corn in only three of the past six seasons.


Returns to Growers and Market Demand

Net returns to sweet corn growers is available for a continuous
nine-year period 1949-57 in the Everglades and for eight of the nine years


20Appendix Table 4 and Figure 1.

21Figure 2.

22Appendix Table 5.










in the Zellwood area.23 As stated earlier, these data represent the
medium to large-size growers and are perhaps more representative of special-
ized sweet corn operations. Everglades' growers have had net returns
ranging from $0.85 per crate ($1.708 per hundredweight) in 1948-49 to a
minus $0.51 per crate (-$1.01 per hundredweight) in 1953-54. Negative
returns accrued to Everglades' growers in five of the nine years shown.24
It will be recalled from earlier discussion that Everglades' production
has expanded from primarily a spring crop to a fall, winter and spring
"deal" with major emphasis on early spring production.

Zellwood growers have had net returns ranging from $1.08 per crate
($2.17 per hundredweight) in 1948-49 to a minus $0.70 per crate (-$1.41 per
hundredweight) in 1949-50. Negative returns accrued to Zellwood growers
in two of the eight years shown. Zellwood's production is concentrated in
the spring and they are in the market most heavily in late spring when
sweet corn prices tend to recover from an earlier low point.

While specific data on returns per unit in the two most recent
seasons are not available some generalizations may be made from season
average price data and prices paid by farmers for items used in production.
Prices paid by farmers have continued their upward trend since 1957 while
prices received by farmers for sweet corn have tended downward. Corn
yields have not changed materially in the past two seasons and total pro-
duction has increased primarily because of increased acreage. It would
seem safe to assume, therefore, that grower returns for corn have been
about equal to or less than the 1956-57 average in the Everglades and
Zellwood areas. The USDA computation of 90 and 97 percent of parity
equivalent for Florida sweet corn in 1958 and 1959, respectively, further
attests such a conclusion.

In view of the production of 2.6 to 3.5 million hundredweights of
sweet corn annually in Florida and the returns to growers for that pro-
duction, it would appear that production has exceeded present market demand
for the product. If the industry is to continue to produce 3 million
hundredweights and receive a fair return for it, the market demand for
Florida sweet corn must be increased; otherwise production must be reduced
to that which will bring a fair return to the grower.


Besic Problems of the Sweet Corn Industry

The sweet corn industry in Florida, while relatively young, has
undergone many changes and tremendous expansion. Better varieties, higher
rates of fertilization, improved insect and disease control and cultural
practices have increased per acre yields by 50 percent or more. Higher
yields together with an eightfold increase in acreage harvested has resulted
in an annual production of more than three million hundredweights. The
number of farmers growing sweet corn has decreased and the average acreage


23D. L. Brooke, "Costs and Returns from Vegetable Crops in Florida,"
Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta., Agr. Econ. Mimeo Reports, Vols. IV to XII.

2Appendix Table 6.








14


per farm has increased. Mechanization of production and harvesting
operations and the exacting requirements for the preservation of quality
in the product make it a highly specialized industry.

Major production appears to be centering in those areas having
the greatest advantage from a cost standpoint, namely the mucklands of
the Everglades and Zellwood. This convergence and the increase in spring
production has concentrated about 70 percent of the total volume into the
months of April, May and June6 The depressing effect which this volume
has had on prices during these months, particularly in May, is an indication
of either (a) a surplus in the market, (b) inferior condition of product
in retail stores, or (c) poor distribution of the product.




































APPENDIX








APPENDIX TABLE I.~-FLORIDA SWEET CORN ACREAGE BY AREAS, PLANTED D HARVESTED 198P, to 1959


Area 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959a

Planted

North Florida 2800 2900 4500 2500 2825 1850 1675 1150 1100 1375 1450 1285
Zellwood 1550 2400 4600 3500 4100 3300 4325 4300 3600 4540 4000 5715
Seminole 850 900 1500 800 900 900 300 150 125 150 225 150
Plant City-Wauchula 600 2050 2500 1000 900 600 125 100 150 50 --- 400
Manatee-Ruskin 450 1525 2700 2350 1250 775 950 900 550 400 300 ---
Ft. Pierce 25 200 1700 1050 550 -- --- --- -
Lower East Coast 175 450 1450 2450 3525 4450 5000 3315 4760 4500 8575 3350
Everglades 1400 5500 14300 14400 19750 21870 27550 25075 28900 33800 34100 39800
Ft. Myers-Immokalee 175 300 250 600 900 700 1860 2225 3275 2490 1885 800
Other Counties 175 275 500 650 600 455 215 285 740 495 365 400


State Total 8200 16500 34000 29300 35300 34900 42100 37500 43200 47800 50900 51900

For Harvest

North Florida 1200 2625 4300 2100 2725 1350 1375 1075 925 1375 1300 925
Zellwood 1350 2000 4350 3400 4000 3300 4300 4300 3600 4150 4000 5465
Seminole 750 900 1350 800 800 800 300 150 100 150 200 140
Plant City-Wauchula 600 1700 2000 1000 700 600 125 100 150 50 --- 275
Manatee-Ruskin 450 1525 2400 2050 900 775 950 875 550 400 300 ---
Ft. Pierce 25 200 1050 900 500 -- -- --- --- --- ---
Lower East Coast 115 400 950 1800 3200 4100 4625 2965 3265 4310 5325 3125
Everglades 1300 4900 11500 12550 18750 18420 23200 21250 25800 29600 27500 38200
Ft. Myers-Immokalee 100 200 250 550 800 675 1720 2200 2640 2250 480 440
Other Counties 110 250 350 550 455 500 205 85 470 415 95 330


State Total 6000 14700 28500 25700 32900 30400 36800 33000 37500 42700 39200 48900

preliminary
Source: USDA, AMS, "Florida Vegetable Crops, Annual Statistical Summary," Vols. IV to XIV, 1948 to 1958 and
unpublished data, 1959.


___
I~ I


__1_~______ ^1_1_1______
IW ULYY








APPENDIX TABLE 2.--FLORIDA SWEET CORN PRODUCTION BY AREAS, TOTAL AND HARVESTED 1948 to 1959


Area 1948 1949 1950a 1951 1952 1953 1954a 1955a 1956 1957 1958 1959b

(Thousand Hundredweights)


Total


North Florida
Zellwood
Seminole
Plant City-Wauchula
Manatee-Ruskin
Ft. Pierce
Lower East Coast
Everglades
Ft. Myers-Immokalee
Other Counties


117
171
47
45
84
10
14
331
12
14


229
341
101
40
96
64
59
746
16
18


97
280
62
35
75
41
114
822
39
19


139
450
60
41
61
24
204
1190
47
26


38
380
44
33
38

269
1355
36
18


67
458
18
5
57

362
1512
130
11


51
602
12
6
55

309
1908
182
7


60
552
4
7
25

264
2362
217
22


57
448
6
2
24

344
1630
164
26


28
495
13

13

287
1936
29
4


37
535
12
--
9

152
2283
24
14


State Total


North Florida
Zellwood
Seminole
Plant City-Wauchula
Manatee-Ruskin
Ft. Pierce
Lower East Coast
Everglades
Ft. Myers-Immokalee
Other Counties


845 1710 1584 2242 2211 2620 3132 3513 2701 2805 3066


State Total


240 845 1482 1584 2154 2211 2620 3016 3513 2701 2625 3066


aState totals differ from
in area figures.


most recent source material because of
bPreliminary.


adjustments in total production not reflected


Source: USDA, AMS, "Florida Vegetable Crops, Annual Statistical Summary," Vols. IV to XIV, 1948 to 1958 and
unpublished data, 1959.


240


Harvested


187
234
91
38
95
57
59
688
16
17


97
280
62
35
75
41
114
822
39
19


101
433
56
35
53
24
204
1175
47
26


38
380
44
33
38

269
1355
36
18


67
458
18
5
57

362
1512
130
11


50
597
11
6
48

310
1806
182
6


60
552
4
7
25

264
2362
217
22


57
448
6
2
24

344
1630
164
26


26
495
13

4

277
1778
29
3


37
535
12

9

152
2283
24
14


--







APPENDIX TABLE 2a.--FLORIDA SWEET CORN PRODUCTION BY AREAS, TOTAL AND HARVESTED 1948 to 1959


Area 1948 1949 1950a 1951 1952 1953 1954a 1955a 1956 1957 1958 1959b

(Thousand Crates)
Total


North Florida
Zellwood
Seminole
Plant City-Wauchula
Manatee-Ruskin
Ft. Pierce
Lower East Coast
Everglades
Ft. Myers-Immokalee
Other Counties


46
170
75
27
48
2
6
90
8
8


459
682
202
80
191
128
119
1492
32
35


194
561
124
70
149
82
228
1645
77
38


278
900
120
83
122
47
408
2380
94
53


75
759
88
66
77

539
2710
72
36


134
915
36
10
113

725
3024
261
22


101
1204
25
12
110

619
3816
364
13


120
1105
8
14
50

527
4724
433
45


123
975
14
5
52

747
3542
357
57


64
1124
30

30

653
4400
65
9


89
1274
29

21

361
5435
58
33


State Total


480 1690 3420 3168 4485 4422 5240 6264 7026 5872 6375 7300


Harvested


North Florida
Zellwood
Seminole
Plant City-Wauchula
Manatee-Ruskin
Ft. Pierce
Lower East Coast
Everglades
Ft. Myers-Immokalee
Other Counties


State Total


46
170
75
27
48
2
6
90
8
8


374
468
181
76
190
114
119
1375
32
35


194
561
124
70
149
82
228
1645
77
38


202
866
112
71
105
47
408
2350
94
53


75 134
759 915
88 36
66 10
77 113

539 725
2710 3024
72 261
36 22


480 1690 2964 3168 4308 4422 5240 6033 7026 5872 5966 7300


aState totals differ from
in area figures.


most recent source material because of
preliminary.


adjustments in total production not reflected


Source: USDA, AMS, "Florida Vegetable Crops, Annual Statistical Summary," Vols. IV to XIV, 1948 to 1958 and
unpublished data, 1959.


100
1194
22
12
97

619
3612
364
13


120
1105
8
14
50

527
4724
433
45


123
975
14
5
52

747
3542
357
57


59
1124
30

10

630
4041
65
7


89
1274
29

21

361
5435
58
33






APPENDIX TABLE 3.--GREEN CORN: CARLOT SHIPMENTS BY RAIL
OR BOAT FOR THE TEN-YEAR PERIOD 1949-50 to 1958-59
--, ,-
Season Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Total
1949-50 7 2 2 77 462 794 814 33 2,191
1950-51 1 2 4 4 13 210 657 992 437 2,320
1951-52 1 11 12 35 91 311 672 1493 895 3,521
1952-53 4 6 15 129 467 1267 1388 342 11 3,629
1953-54 10 64 162 321 511 1069 1426 640 4,203
1954-55 53 146 100 135 370 1030 2215 1206 60 5,315
1955-56 7 133 210 182 85 194 1639 2142 1306 25 5,923
1956-57 38 80 30 263 386 458 762 1086 728 16 3,847
1957-58 4 431 136 38 16 41 2365 1120 33 4,184
1958-59* 114 306 105 70 36 107 692 1439 1194 40 4,103


SHIPMENTS OF GREEN CORN IN MIXED CARS IN CARLOT EQUIVALENTS
FOR THE TEN-YEAR PERIOD 1949-50 to 1958-59

Season Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Total
1949-50 I 1 19 64 49 6 140
1950-51 1 1 4 6 38 98 68 11 227
1951-52 2 4 9 23 71 96 93 29 327
1952-53 1 1 7 27 90 110 82 9 327
1953-54 1 24 23 52 114 137 87 14 452
1954-55 5 32 29 33 59 101 95 18 372
1955-56 1 27 35 26 26 79 144 89 20 447
1956-57 21 11 49 60 70 64 58 9 342
1957-58 41 26 9 2 8 94 42 3 225
1958-59* 34 15 36 116 77 26 1 305


SHIPMENTS OF GREEN CORN BY TRUCK IN CARLOT EQUIVALENTS
FOR THE TEN-YEAR PERIOD 1949-50 to 1958-59

Season Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Tctal
1949-50 35 11 18 23 208 680 920 800 40 2,735*
1950-51 12 43 18 37 42 253 830 1201 472 2,908
1951-52 1 17 62 117 239 502 916 1145 503 3,502
1952-53 1 26 22 68 272 748 1103 1125 356 6 3,727
1953-54 21 94 253 453 877 1115 1107 403 5 4,328
1954-55 11 98 205 222 240 538 1190 1359 660 26 4,i49
1955-56 18 260 215 255 194 478 1406 1651 855 28 5,360
1956-57 102 195 92 349 549 894 1206 1402 720 24 5,533
1957-58 23 508 291 153 58 8 225 2561 1333 57 5;.17
1958-59* 354 777 345 234 197 559 1702 1627 1098 75 7,018

*Preliminary.
**Includes movement after road guard stations closed--40 in 1949; 237 in 1950.

Conversion Factors: 500 crates by truck and 625 crates by rail.

Source: USDA, AMS, "Florida Vegetable Crops," Vol. XIV, 1958 and unpublished
data, 1959.











APPENDIX TABLE 4.--SWEET CORN MONTHLY F.O.B. FLORIDA PRICE PER CIT.
FIVE SEASONS 1954-55 to 1958-59


Season Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June

(Dollars per cwt.)
1954-55 .5.50 4.80 4.50 6.30 5.60 5.20 4.10 3.00 .3.50

1955-56 5.30 4.10 3.90 5.60 6.10 5.80 3.50 3.40 3.80

1956-57 4.70 5.50 6.50 4.80 4.50 5.30 4.50 4.25 5.40

1957-58 7.40 3.55 4.30 7.60 8.20 7.50 10.00 3.55 4.40

1958-59 5.00 3.20 4.10 6.20 6.60 6.10 4.90 4.40 4.30


Total 27.90 21.15 23.30 30.50 31.00 29.90 27.00 18.60 21.40

Average 5.58 4.23 4.66 6.10 6.20 5.98 5.40 3.72 4.28
per cwt.


Source: USDA, Crop Reporting Board, Monthly Fresh Market Vegetable Prices.





Dollars


Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June
Months
Fig. 1.--Sweet Corn--Simple Average Monthly F.O.B. Florida Price per
Cwt. Five Seasons 1954-55 to 1958-59.

Source: Computed from USDA, "Fresh Market Vegetable Prices Report,"
unpublished data.


Dollars
& Cwt.


Years

Fig. 2.-Sweet Corn--Relationship of Production and Price in Florida,
1947-48 to 1958-59.

Source: USDA, AMS, "Florida Vegetable Crops, Annual Statistical Summary,"
Vols. IV to XIV, 1948 to 1958 and unpublished data, 1959.








COMPARISON OF FLORIDA AVERAGE PRICES WITH PARITY PRICES


Season 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Dollars per cwt.


Winter
U. S. Average Parity
Florida Parity Equivalent
Florida Season Average Price
% Florida Season Average
Price is of Florida Parity

Early Spring
U. S. Average Parity
Florida Parity Equivalent
Florida Season Average Price
% Florida Season Average
Price is of Florida Parity

Fall
U. S. Average Parity
Florida Parity Equivalent
Florida Season Average Price
% Florida Season Average
Price is of Florida Parity
All Seasons Combined
U. S. Average Parity
Florida Parity Equivalent
Florida Season Average Price
% Florida Season Average
Price is of Florida Parity


3.75
6.38
4.90

77


3.77
4.78
3.60

75


3.70
6.39
4.50

70


3.76
5.81
5.30

91


3.75
4.48
3.50

78


3.71
6.08
4.30

71


1954-55
3.74
4.72
3.88

82


3.61
5.21
5.80

111


3.66
4.16
3.55

85


3.71
5.27
5.80

110


1955-56
3.66
4.45
3.93

88


3.79
5.44
5.00

92


3.82
4.11
4.70

114


3.84
5.07
4.05

80


1956-57
3.77
4.41
4.87

110


4.17
5.84
7.60

130


4.22
4.47
4.10

92


4.25
5.59
3.65

65


1957-58
4.06
4.66
4.21

90


4.17
5.55
6.20

112


4.19
4.42
4.55


103


1958-59
4.20
4.76
4.60

97


Source: Crop Reporting Board,
Prices.


AMS, USDA.


Annual Summaries Fresh Vegetables and Agricultural


--- -- -- --


APPENDIX TABLE 5.- 31JEET CORN:













APPENDIX TABLE 6.--SWEET CORN, NET RETURNS PER CRATE AND PER
HUNDREDWEIGHT TO EVERGLADES AND ZELLWOOD GROWERS,
Seasons 1948-49 to 1956-57


Per Crate Per Hundredweight
Season
Everglades Zellwood Everglades Zellwood

1948-49 $0.854 $1.084 $1.708 $2.168

1949-50 .485 -.704 .970 -1.408

1950-51 -.171 .039 -.342 .078

1951-52 .260 .028 .520 .056

1952-53 -.013 .368 -.026 .736

1953-54 -.507 -.036 -1.014 -.072

1954-55 -.210 .140 -.420 .280

1955-56 .013 .026

1956-57 -.208 .339 -.452 .737


Source: D. L. Brooke, "Costs and
Florida," Fla. Agr. Exp.
Vols. IV to XII.


Returns from Vegetable Crops in
Sta., Agr. Econ. Mimeo Reports,


DLB:sd 2/1/60
Exp. Sta., Ag. Econ. 400 copies




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