Crop News

Corn Planting Begins in U.S. This Month


United States

Potato and green pea planting is currently underway.   To date at least 50% of the green peas are in the ground in the Northwest area.   Sweet corn and green bean plantings should begin sometime this month, while Midwest pea plantings should start sometime in the next week or two. 

USDA predicts farmers will plant increased acreage for wheat, soybean and field corn.   Field corn alone could represent an increase of 1.2 million acres which could be the largest field corn acreage planted in the last 16 years.  

Processors are competing against wheat, soybean and field corn acreage which command higher prices for the growers.   Competing higher cost crops are cause for tense negotiations between growers and frozen processors and will reflect in frozen finished product price this coming season.  Some predict frozen sweet corn prices to be up by .02/lb – .05/lb.  This does not consider higher trucks costs and for international business higher ocean freight rates.

Frozen Fruit stocks in the U.S are down 18% – 20% from last year.  To secure any U.S. offer on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries is pretty much impossible at the moment. 

Cold storage holdings on frozen blueberries were down about 13% at end January from the same time last year.   The U.S. has imported about 90,000 tons of frozen blueberries this past year (includes wild and cultivated) and remains the highest imported product to date.

The California Strawberry season is getting close to start with peak production in May/June.  Due to consumer demand acreage has been increased and consumer interest is not slowing down.   The new season is expected to go well as favorable weather conditions are anticipated with the presents of La Nina. Prices for all U.S. berry fruits are up and expected to continue to rise due to smaller crops last season, high demand and struggles with the berry crops in Chile.

2021 Northwest blueberry and raspberry crops have wintered well with no adverse conditions to report.   Raspberry and blueberry buds have started to show.  Growers are optimistic for a good season, however the next few weeks are critical as frost and disease are still possibilities.  Growers and processers are keeping a close watch over their crops.  Estimated start date for early variety raspberries are mid to late June, with later varieties around first week of July.

Blueberries for the frozen market should be processing around end of July, however everything will depend on weather going forward.

Frozen potato exports are down about 17% July – Dec 2020, however exports seem to be picking up in the last month.   Storage potatoes should be able to get most processors in the U.S. through to new season, but if foodservice recovery continues at a faster pace there could be some supply shortages.

Processing potatoes are being planted.   Washington’s planted acreage is expected to increase this year.   U.S. acreage as a whole is up this year, however not yet to the pre-pandemic level.  French fry sales have been strong in recent months domestically, but processors are still worried if this demand will continue due to uncertainties still concerning the covid 19 pandemic.   Also, of concern to growers and processors are the uncertainties of foreign markets in regard to covid 19.  


Supply shortfalls on raw material potatoes have slowed down processing production in Canada.   Fryers may decide to import potatoes to keep plants running.


Harvesting of Broccoli and Cauliflower in the Bajio Valley has now slowed down as Mexico’s quarantine becomes effective in May/June in the Bajio Valley.  Transiting to the Northern fields in the state of Guanajuato is now taking place.

Spinach season in Mexico is now underway and is expected to run through April/May.  

Blueberries and raspberry season are ongoing.

Strawberries are now being processed.   Quality is reported as average.

Pepper season now ongoing in Mexico and should wind down in May/June.


Broccoli harvest is now completed, and the season will start up again in July.  Late year rains reduced the volume of broccoli coming into the factories for processing and reduced total production volumes.   Mango and melon season are underway.


Fruit season in Chile has been very challenging.   A devasting storm at the end of January damage crops.  Grape crops were particularly hit hard, however, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries also suffered much damage. Price are up, and inventories will be very tight moving forward.   It is estimated that damages from this storm will be over US$150 million.   Current prices on all berry fruits are up due to Chile’s crop challenges, lack of labor, and high demand worldwide.


Avocado season will begin this month.  Yields and quality expected to be good, however labor costs will increase prices.


Green peas and beans remain very short in Europe with no relief in sight until new season.   Spinach and cauliflower are also short and in high demand.

In the global frozen French fry market there is stiff competition from Europe due to the volume of processing potatoes harvested this season.   Prices are low coming from Europe.   Due to covid 19 virus the demand in Europe for potatoes on open market are extremely low causing prices to drop.   Most processors are running factories at 80 to 90% capacity.   

It has recently been reported that potato growers in Europe will reduce their potato acreage this year in order to rebalance the market.

Potato processers in Europe are facing many challenges aside from the covid challenge.   The 2020 season was the first season in which CIPC was not allowed to be sprayed to prevent sprouting in storage potatoes.   Storage has become more expensive and the new anti-sprouting treatment is expensive and not working as well as CIPC…. some sprouting is still occurring.


Tin plate prices for Q2 are predicted to rise by 10% – 15%.  This will reflect in final product can corn prices as processors will not be able to maintain the current price levels. The peak of Thailand’s current harvest took place in February.


Transport and pandemic issues has prevented Egypt from planting more strawberry acreage, however prices remain stable.


Sweet Corn was affected by strong weather patterns.  Wind and Rain were reported in the growing regions.  Raw Product has been forecasted to be lower than predicted. 

China is anticipating a very nice Lychee crop this season.   Favorable weather this past winter has led to expectations of a higher yield crop.   Harvest should begin in June and go through July.

Sugar snap pea season will begin this month.   Prices are firm due to cool growing conditions which have reduced yields.

Spring Asparagus season begins this month.








































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