Florida is the #1 state in the production of fresh sweet corn with production occurring in winter months when the crop cannot be grown in states further north. Many insect species survive the winter and thrive in Florida. 98-99% of Florida’s sweet corn would be damaged by insects if insecticide sprays were not made. The importance of insecticides for Florida sweet corn is underscored by the realization that the crop was not grown in the state until synthetic chemical insecticides were introduced in the 1940s.
“Florida ranks #1 nationally in the production and value of fresh market sweet corn, typically accounting for approximately 20 percent of both national sweet corn production and of U.S. cash receipts for fresh sales. A total of 589 million pounds of fresh sweet corn, valued at $189 million, was produced on 42,100 acres in Florida during the 2009-10 season. Nearly 20 percent of sweet corn producers overall total direct expenses are invested in pesticides and pesticide application costs. Florida’s warm, humid climate is ideal for the development of pest populations. Sweet corn grown in Florida is subject to damage from numerous insect, weed, disease, and nematode pests. Pesticide use is high and the crop may be sprayed daily in some cases.”
”The first commercial production of sweet corn in Florida was reported in the 1947-48 season. The establishment of sweet corn as one of the major crops produced in Florida is attributed largely to successful control of insects with the newer insecticides. “
Author: McAvoy, G.
Affiliation: Regional Vegetable Extension Agent IV, University of Florida
Title: Sweet corn production in south Florida
Source: Proceedings of the 2012 Atlantic Coast Ag Convention & Trade Show, pp 66-68
Authors: Hayslip, N. C., et al.
Affiliation: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Ft. Pierce
Title: Corn earworm investigations in Florida
Source: Journal of Economic Entomology. 1953. 46:574-583.