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Author Topic: Sweet Corn... How much?  (Read 7471 times)
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TheOntarioGardener
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« on: August 06, 2011, 06:28:40 PM »

Hello everyone,

For those of you that grow and sell sweet corn, how much do you plant?

I am interested in selling sweet corn next year. Not on a huge scale, but some among a few other things at my roadside stand. This year I planted 600' of it. It isn't doing very well, as this is a new plot of land, and with the summer drought, it is to be expected. But, with composting and working the soil, I am confident that it will grow a lot better next year.

In my area, there are virtually no road side stands. Mine is doing so so this year, but again, it is my first year at this location and I don't have it posted as well as I can.

Anyways, any input would be appreciated.

Thanks,

~Jake
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Lake Erie
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2011, 05:00:17 AM »

Jake........ I don't know how much to tell you to plant, but I do know your big $$$ will be with early season corn.... Around here a dozen ears early in the season will go for ~ $6.00...... Last week a bag of corn ( 5-1/2 dozen ) sold for $12.00......... You need to hit the market early as that is where your good $$$$ will be made.

Brent
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Brent
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2011, 07:02:38 AM »

Thanks Brent,

The earlier the better it what I will shoot for next year. I am not 100% sure how much I am going to plant, but if I have extra, if I can get it out, people will buy it. Around here, I only know of one other place that sells sweet corn, and they have just put it out. However, we are about 2-3 weeks behind, due to the wet spring.

Thanks for the input,

~Jake
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2011, 02:24:06 PM »

Jake in my area sweetcorn is selling for $4.00 a dozen and in the grocery store it is selling for 2 for a dollar.  Roy
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AllisCA
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2011, 06:19:48 PM »

Jake, sorry man I should have been on the forum a while back.
I put in alot a sweet corn as you've read on the other forum. Approx 20,000 plants per variety. They came due about a week apart. I thought having the last corn available would be a good thing but have found not quite so. People just plain stop looking for it after Labor Day. I'm whole selling @ 2.00 a doz and retailing @ 3.00 a doz. I've only sold about 300 doz so far. Still made way better than renting out the land so I can't complain. And still have some time left to sell corn and if I'm lucky sell the Indian corn I grew. In fact I've already got an account for next year. I think there is money to be made but only if your sized just right for your market. If we had grown an acre of green beens also its hard to say how good a year this might have turned out to be.
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Amanda,OH
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2011, 08:05:00 PM »

Around here snap beans and okra sell faster than any other vegetable.

Donald
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2011, 06:03:08 AM »

Around here snap beans and okra sell faster than any other vegetable.

Donald

hehehehe what the heck is Okra?Huh??? I'd bet if you ask a 100 people up here what Okra is 99 of them would look at you and say "what"?
Some foods are definitely regional.
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Amanda,OH
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 09:05:31 AM »

I could probably sell for more, but I'm happy at $6/dozen.


AllisCA, that's pretty impressive! I'm thinking of jumping up to 1/4 acre plantings next year. I haven't been as successful with corn for some reason-poor germination the last couple of years. I'll get the hang of it, though.

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AllisCA
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 04:22:14 PM »

I could probably sell for more, but I'm happy at $6/dozen.


AllisCA, that's pretty impressive! I'm thinking of jumping up to 1/4 acre plantings next year. I haven't been as successful with corn for some reason-poor germination the last couple of years. I'll get the hang of it, though.


I only think in terms of acres. Doesn't take any longer to plant a 1/4 acre than an acre when you consider all the prep and setup time. My corn planter needs modified to use on smaller plots like an acre. Seed hoppers where designed to plant probably 25acres at a time. Ran into trouble keeping the seed plate holes full while planting small area.
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Amanda,OH
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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 06:38:34 PM »

 I'm nowhere near on a level like all of you when it comes to garden space/production and have never sold sweet corn or any other produce.  With that said, Around here (mid Michigan) there are roadside stands everywhere and so many people selling sweet corn at farmers markets and the prices I've read here seem very high.  Is it just because around here so many people grow and sell it?  When it comes to my extended local family, they all buy from 2 guys. One does a roadside stand and the other sells from his yard and a smalltown farmers market that normally averages around 10-12 stands.  They normally sell 4 ears for a dollar.   Can't remember the varieties, but I prefer one over the other and it varies from family member to family member.   
  So is the contrast in price because of my first thought or is it due to the southern drought?    Even Kroger and Chinamart average around 33 cents an ear.
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Swartz Creek, MI
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2011, 06:55:56 PM »

Overall average price for sweetcorn around here is 4.00/doz most of the time. I never concern myself with grocery store retail prices since they often sell at a loss items speople buy often just to get you in the store where the other items you buy while your there are marked up 1000%. And its easy to tell what those items are....they are everything at the very back of the store. The closer to the front you get the more profit there is on those items. Lowest I've heard of in central Ohio is .18 per ear.
Buying from the roadside is about reputation. If I grow year after year good tasting quality corn maybe I will build a reputation and sales will increase.
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Amanda,OH
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2011, 07:49:15 PM »

I could probably sell for more, but I'm happy at $6/dozen.


AllisCA, that's pretty impressive! I'm thinking of jumping up to 1/4 acre plantings next year. I haven't been as successful with corn for some reason-poor germination the last couple of years. I'll get the hang of it, though.


I only think in terms of acres. Doesn't take any longer to plant a 1/4 acre than an acre when you consider all the prep and setup time. My corn planter needs modified to use on smaller plots like an acre. Seed hoppers where designed to plant probably 25acres at a time. Ran into trouble keeping the seed plate holes full while planting small area.


I'm planting with an Earthway.  Grin

So I'm thinking in terms of fertilizer.  Shocked

I figure 16K ears per acre sound about right?
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2011, 09:10:56 PM »

16K per acre sounds real thin. A typical field corn field is sown to about 35K. How dense sweet corn will tolerate is a factor of nutriates and moisture. I planted pretty sparse at 20K thinking if we got dry I would have a better chance at a crop since I planted real late. Turned out wet so I could have dialed up the population count and probably got away with it. As for fertlization I went light on that by accident and got lucky there too. But here again I don't think it would be all that bad especially if you target apply in the rows at seeding and side dressing.
Donalds Earthway behind the tractor is real neat but as cheap as the old planters are to get they are the way to go. Those things are out there. Antique tractor forum classifieds have them for sale all the time as do CL and other forms of advertizing. Plus all over the country are antique tractor clubs with guys selling all kinds of stuff that would do well for small plot farming. Amazes me how everyone thinks they need a 15-20K mingmong tractor when 2-3K will buy a nice older rig that is easy and cheap to maintain and get farming implements galor most for scrap price. Just look at all the youtube vids showing people that still vegetable farm with the old stuff and they are making a living at it.
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Amanda,OH
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2011, 10:21:36 AM »

 Cool

Thanks for the help and advice AllisCA!



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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2011, 06:43:48 PM »

Did a little math. 12' spacing is a little over 13k/acre with my rows spaced in between tractor tires. I prefer 8" spacing, which bumps it up to 19-20k/acre.
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Crosby, TX black gumbo
Kubota L3400 4x4 w/FEL
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4\' 3 point tiller
TroyBuilt Rototiller
Matnis tiller
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« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2011, 08:08:13 PM »

Did a little math. 12' spacing is a little over 13k/acre with my rows spaced in between tractor tires. I prefer 8" spacing, which bumps it up to 19-20k/acre.
I get different number but here is how I did the math. An acre is 208x208. If one were to plant on 30" centers it comes to about 83 rows. Planting 1 foot apart is 208 plants per row times 83 rows equals 17,264 plants. Field corn is planted 6" apart so doubling that is 34,528 plants. I planted about 8" and roughed it out at 20,000 plants. Sounds like a lot but there are many losses like germ rate, weather, not every plant produces a good ear, animals eating your corn, and running over plants with the cultivator. So basically when I sat down last year and tried to figure it all up I divided all numbers in half and then divided in half again hehehhe. Cheesy Yep that came out about right.
And this year the luck just continues. Not only did I get blessed with a good crop now thats its harvest time the weather has cooled down to extend the time the corn will be good. After all the whinning I did back in the spring I guess I need to eat crow on how it turned out.....Thanks Donald!
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Amanda,OH
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« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2011, 10:48:08 PM »

I did one application of Atrazine in the first 2 weeks and followed up with cultivation but not on the whole plot. I wanted to see what if any difference in the outcome. And so far I can't really see a diff except the Yellow corn seemed to fill out better and didn't tip back as much as the bi-color did. Number of good ears seems to be way better than I would have thought. We've taken about 300doz so far and I'm guessing that isn't even half of whats out there. Early in the harvest I had guessed at 1200doz for all the sweet corn and thats a little on the high side. A lot plants got passed up for smaller ears. Far corner of the field has Indian corn on it ,about 1/4 acre.
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Amanda,OH
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« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2011, 10:13:23 AM »

My factor tires result in 40" centers. Should I try to overlap some?
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Crosby, TX black gumbo
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« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2011, 03:05:03 PM »

Your tractor is 40" wide measured from center to center of the tires is how I read you. If that the case then that is your starting point.
I want to deviate a moment on something I harp alot on. New tractors are really really handy, well built, smooth and well.....new. But something they just aren't is "row crop". They have no versitility for planting or cultivating. They typically have wide sqautty tires and are built low to the ground and everything has to be done off the 3pt in the back. Can you say stiff neck.
So since you are locked into 40" at least that is a standard. An old one but nevertheless a standard. Most old planters 2 row or more will plant 28-40 row spacings. I planted 30" but will admit its close when cultivating so 40" is really a good choice if you have the land. However since it seems you are locked into single row planting based on tractor width. Planting single row and using your tires as row markers should work out well. Single row planters are easy to find since people often tear down old planters to make single row units out of them with a 3pt hitch. And if you get one with the seed plate vertical it elliminates the problem I had with big seed hoppers for little job. If you can find a 3pt side dresser then it would technically reduce the need for fertilzing during planting since you could do that after the spikes emerge. Next yr I hope to have my cultivators set up with the fully mounted 2 row side dresser attachment I bought last summer.
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Amanda,OH
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2011, 01:36:02 PM »

I'd love a one-row planter. I like the Covington, but I won't be picky.

But I REALLY want a Super-A. I'll buy one of those (with cultivators, plows, etc) before I'll spend a bunch on a planter.

Land's not a problem. Although I think weed control might be better on 30" spacind due to shading, I prefer picking peas, corn etc on 40" spaced rows since I do it all by hand. I may even move my summer squash and okra to "plant a row, skip a row" 80" spacing next year and cultivate with the tiller.
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Crosby, TX black gumbo
Kubota L3400 4x4 w/FEL
6\' disc
4\' 3 point tiller
TroyBuilt Rototiller
Matnis tiller
Howse 5' 3pt tiller
One row cultivator
Row builder
Row hippers
Earthway seeder
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JonW
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« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2011, 03:02:52 PM »

I almost bought a one-row planter when I was in Kentucky buying a tiller and cultivator this spring.

It was only $295. Pretty sure it was an Allis-Chalmers and looked fine. But I already had a 5' tiller and cultivator with bedding attachments on it in the back of my truck! Smiley

And an empty wallet.
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Crosby, TX black gumbo
Kubota L3400 4x4 w/FEL
6\' disc
4\' 3 point tiller
TroyBuilt Rototiller
Matnis tiller
Howse 5' 3pt tiller
One row cultivator
Row builder
Row hippers
Earthway seeder
Middle buster
AllisCA
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« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2011, 06:08:56 PM »

I know what you mean.Deals always come around when I'm broke. I know where the sweetest International 140 is that I have ever seen. That thing is in practically new condition and can be bought for somewhere between 2,500.00 and 3,000.00 with mower. The market is so dead he hasn't been able to sell it and it should easily be worth 4500.00.
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Amanda,OH
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