HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER
\ May 15, 2016 /
Molokai is on the way to becoming a multi-million dollar center of seed corn production, according to James L. Brewbaker, a horticulturist and corn breeder at the University of Hawaii.
Brewbaker spoke to representatives of major seed corn companies on the Mainland early this month and said, following his return, that a “very deep interest” was shown in moving a part — “perhaps a major part” — of the $10-million winter seed industry for corn to Hawaii, specifically Molokai.
Not only that, Brewbaker said it is “equally likely” that seed production of other crops, such as sorghum and soy beans, will follow.
“In the winter just past, about 70 acres of seed corn were grown on Molokai,” Brewbaker explained.
“At least four Mainland firms were deeply involved and the yields surpassed all their expectations — vastly superior to what they obtain in Florida, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and other centers of winter seed production.
“The average per acre value of some of this seed exceeds $10,000 — every available ear may be hand-pollinated — so you can see why we think it’s a marvelous development for our State, with our inflated land values.
“Already at least 200 acres are under contract for seed production on Molokai in 1967-68, and I shall be most surprised if that is not doubled by autumn when planting occurs,” Brewbaker said.
He added that Mainland seed companies have built expensive seed dryers in Kaunakakai and that he has received inquiries from all the “big ones,” such as Pioneer, Pfister, DeKalb and others that are bywords to Mainland corn growers.
“This program has developed out of information we’ve accumulated at the University of Hawaii,” Brewbaker said. “I contend that Molokai provides one of the best areas in the world for this development and fully expect it to become one of the big Hawaiian agricultural industries.” …
The 70 acres of seed corn grown on Molokai last winter were on the Molokai Ranch.
Brewbaker said Harrison Cook, owner of Molokai Ranch, and Henry Meyer, ranch manager, turned in an excellent job in managing the 70 acres of experimental plantings.
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