OnionBusiness.com learned that California growers will begin planting in El Centro next week after light rains in the area this week caused growers to modify their planting schedule. Typically, most growers start planting around Sept. 10, although some wait until as late as Sept. 20-25. Most want to get started early to get as much size as possible. Our sources also reported some early planting will take place in Bakersfield near the end of October for growers who choose to spread out their crops over a couple of different regions.
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce in Prosser told us, “Size so far is big from what we can see. Jumbos will have plenty of availability, and I expect the medium sizes to be worth as much or more money with tight supplies in the very near future. I think there is a good mix of quality white and red onions to complement our yellow and sweet onions this season.” Brenden also said, “Our acreage has been relatively stable over the past few years, depending on rotation we only bump up or down 5 percent at a time.”
Bob Simerly, agronomist with McCain Foods USA in Fruitland, ID, provided this crop assessment for OnionBusiness.com: “The 2016 Treasure Valley onion crop is probably going to be near to a little above average for yield and will tend to be on the large side. Medium onions are likely to be in short supply this year. One of the reasons is stands; there are many fields with poor stands, which can result in larger onions. 2016 was characterized by ideal onion growing conditions through the summer. There are widespread, though mostly not severe, seed stems with most fields having at least a trace and many with 1 or 2 percent seed stems. I have seen very little decay including very little of the Fusarium bulb rot we have been concerned about in recent years.”