Florida is the largest fresh market sweet corn producer in the U.S. Gross annual sales of over $100 million dollars are produced on 35,000 acres. The field corn industry encompasses about 140,000 acres. This industry primarily supports on-farm activities including grain and silage feed for animals.
The sweet corn industry went through a massive growth phase in the 1970′s primarily due to the development of super sweet varieties at EREC. Presently, seed companies produce many of the varieties grown, but rely on the University of Florida for the development of germplasm and inbreds with improved adaption and disease resistance. With field corn the Florida dairy industry has requested the University to develop silage corn with adaption to tropical conditions. With each species the breeding program focuses on the development of protective germplasm with improved disease and pest resistance, and tolerance to reduced inputs.