An Outlook on Processing Sweet Corn Production from the Last Three Decades (1990s-2010s)

Daljeet S. Dhaliwal, Martin M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa or saccharate), consumed both fresh and processed (primarily canned or frozen), is a popular vegetable crop in the United States. Recent nationwide data have reported declining trends in sweet corn production, which poses serious challenges for the US processing sweet corn producers. Here, we evaluated a processing sweet corn dataset that represents nearly 3 decades (1992-2018) of commercial production in the Upper Midwest and the Pacific Northwest regions in an attempt to understand national trends in US processing sweet corn. The objectives of this study were to (a) quantify trends in processing sweet corn production (harvest area and total green ear mass production); (b) understand trends in planting date, plant population density, and hybrid lifespan; and (c) estimate interannual yield deviations in green ear mass yield. Our results reveal declining trends in sweet corn hectares, particularly in rainfed production systems of the Upper Midwest. For the past 3 decades of commercial sweet corn production, plant population density and planting dates used by vegetable processors have remained unchanged. Our analysis revealed a large range (1 to 20 years) in hybrid lifespan, which can be attributed to wide differences in hybrid yield stability across the diverse production environments in the United States. Rainfed production systems are becoming scarcer because sweet corn yields under rainfed conditions are particularly susceptible to severe weather, including heat and drought stress events. Future research is needed to understand sweet corn yields as a function of climatic and nonclimatic variables to stabilize the industry, particularly given predictions of a future with more frequent weather extremes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-796
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • corn trends
  • sweet corn industry
  • vegetable trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


Dive into the research topics of 'An Outlook on Processing Sweet Corn Production from the Last Three Decades (1990s-2010s)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this