Mark Lynch raises sweet corn on his farm near Barnum in Webster County.
“From the very beginning, usually we try to get sweet corn planted in early April. I think it was the 28th before we finally were able to get in the field and make a couple of passes,” Lynch says. “Between the cold April, the warm May, and the rain, it’s been quite challenging.”
Sweet corn ears he picked last weekend weren’t as big as usual. Lynch says he only plants one variety as it typically yields very consistent results.
“Whatever the weather conditions are, cold, wet, dry, we usually have very large ears,” Lynch says. “I was kind of disappointed. I thought Saturday’s ears were small until I was talking to a couple of other venders who said, ‘My gosh, your ears are big. Look at mine!'”
One neighbor recently purchased a one-row picker, but that’s proven to be an impractical piece of equipment this year.
“There’ll be an ear a foot above the ground, there’ll be an ear three feet above the ground,” Lynch says. “You can go five or ten feet without any ears and then all of the sudden get a bunch. It’s just way too variable to use a picker. You’d have to pick the whole row and then spend quite a bit of time sorting out the good stuff and throwing away the bad stuff.”
Lynch sells sweet corn at farmers markets in Rockwell City, Fort Dodge and Clarion. He’s confident things will turn around for the sweet corn market this year, hopefully, with the next round of picking.
Thanks to Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City