Wednesday, 21 September 2011 14:58

Taber corn growers have some difficulties this year

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By Jamie Woodford
Taber
It's mid-September and there are still corn stands speckled across southern Alberta selling Taber corn — an oddity, according to growers of the famous corn.


In a “normal” year corn stands would be gone

within a week after Labour Day, said grower Gary Valgardson.

“Four or five years ago, for two years in a row we started Aug. 1 and finished Sept. 8,” he recalled. “When you start selling corn at the end of August, you’ve missed the whole window.”

Despite the good quality of the crop, corn sales are slowing down, and they weren’t that lucrative to begin with, he said, adding he still has about 50 acres left to harvest.

“I’ve had four (bad years) in a row,” he said “I’ve had hail 100 per cent three years, then frost last year that took half circle, and then this year the cold, wet spring then all of a sudden 100 degrees for a week or two then it’s just to dang hot.”

The extreme hot weather isn’t good for corn, in his opinion.

 In the meantime, he’ll continue to sell corn until the public is no longer buying it, and after that, he said, “I’m done.”

Valgardson doesn’t plan to grow corn again, but when prodded further, he said, “Well, we’ll see.”

Larry Van Orman of Mother Tanner’s Corn figured his sales are about on par with last year. He plans to continue selling until the weather gets too cold.

“We basically faced the same problems this year as we has last year, which was the corn has been severely delayed and the corn wasn’t ready at the prime time when people want it in August,

the corn was just coming on in September,” he said, noting some of the more desirable varieties, such as Krispy King Corn, isn’t available just yet.

Van Orman also noted the high quality of the corn this year, but like last season, this year has been an “extremely poor growing year” due to the delays.

“We would have considerably high volume of sales if the corn had matured when it should be, which is the first week in August,” he said. “But we’re again three to four weeks behind normal.”

As a result, Mother Tanner’s sales volume is down 25 to 50 per cent less than normal due to the delayed corn.

“We’re hoping 2012 will be a normal year, if there is such a thing again,” he said.

None of the corn growers the Prairie Post spoke to heard many complaints about corn counterfeiters this year — some selling under the name Tabor, not Taber.

“I haven’t heard anything from any of my people that I supply,” said Van Orman.

David Jensen, President of Alberta Corn Growers Association said there was an incident of fake Taber corn in the Edmonton area, but otherwise he didn’t hear many complaints.

“I haven’t heard as much this year for some reason, I don’t know why,” he said.

One reason might be that most Taber corn sellers now have certificates at their stands — with a trademarked

logo and a raised seal — identifying authentic sellers from counterfeit ones.

Jensen said he received a few calls asking for certificates this year.


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