Featured image: Vidalia, GA crop progress, photo courtesy of Cliff Riner with G&R Farms in Glennville, GA
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on Jan. 31, “Demand has been very good this week,” Steve said. “On certain sizes demand exceeds supply for this week. All sizes and colors are moving well this week! Whites are still the toughest item to find if you can even find them. ” Steve added, “The market is higher this week than last week on all sizes and colors across the board. I have been told you will start to see a few more onions cross in from Mexico next week. Most of these will end up in cartons being sold as sweets to retailers. Mexico is still buying out of our area this week which is a good sign.” On transportation, Steve noted, “Truck availability has gotten better this week compared to the past 2-3 weeks.”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce in Parma, ID, reported in on Jan. 31. “The onion market is spicy!” Dwayne said. “Onward and upward! Those are the themes from here to the finish line. Movement and cold call demand is extremely good. It seems like those that maybe don’t have a “program” set up are now scrabbling to try to find supply.” He continued, “I don’t think there are many sheds out there with onions that don’t already have a home, even if it is on the open market. If you haven’t been buying since September, I don’t think you will get in now. Plenty of production was contracted pre-season this year guessing that the market may not be too bright. Many sheds have production that is left committed to these contracts. You can never outguess Mother Nature or a worldwide commodity, which has led us to this strong state in the market. Contract prices for next year will need to be higher than this past year based on our increased costs alone. Labor, equipment repairs/replacement costs, insurance, and energy costs are leading the fight on the profit & loss statement.” Dwayne concluded his report by saying, “Our Utah production will finish in 10 days and our Idaho production looks to finish 3 weeks earlier than normal. As we move forward, the market will continue to strengthen. Where it tops out, it appears we are going to see!”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Jan. 31, “Demand is slightly off, but not by much,” Jason said, “It seems no one has any whites, so that’s off the table, and buyers demand is good for jumbo yellows and reds. Supplies are very tight this week on medium reds and yellows, but there is good availability of jumbos, and larger sized yellows.” On the market, Jason noted, “The market just continues to increase and like I’ve mentioned previously, that is a big benefit to our growers, and we are extremely happy about that.” Jason commented on transportation. “Transportation seems to be better than it has for the last several weeks, and that’s a promising sign.”
Lou Getzelman with Canyon Sales Co. on the Hunts Point Market told us on Jan. 31, “For the past couple weeks, we were wondering if “help is on the way?” Buyers were hoping for the best, but now it seems clear that the onion market is not slowing down.” He continued, “Certainly looks like Mexico is starting at least a week to two weeks later than expected, which has really put a strain on the market. Demand is super strong, and the supply is simply not there, and it’s not really on the horizon. White onions have gone from scarce to basically nonexistent, and medium red onions are in the same boat. Peruvian sweet onions are also oversold at all shipping points, and what we’ve seen in the market is more of a western sweet onion. It’s not hard to believe that pricing is still ticking up this week across the board. Shippers are very happy at these levels, but I think even some of them would like to see things stabilize a little here. If that happens, I think we’re set up to have good markets well into the summer. You must continue to place your orders well in advance, it should be no shock that you cannot get an order out the day you place it.” On transportation, Lou said, “Freight has actually come down a bit this week West to East, helps offsets the price increase a little bit. “
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Jan. 31 there’s not much new to report on the delayed start for Tampico. “Everybody’s in the same boat,” he said. “We’re all just waiting for it to get going.” Don Ed said the delay stems from multiple factors, starting with the late planting, water shortage, and cool weather the region has experienced. “They’re wanting to optimize the size [by waiting], and they’ve had cool weather recently. Also, Mexico is buying now from the U.S. So, all that combined has made it a late start.” Don Ed said he still expects the season to get underway the middle of the month – “sometime during the week of the 15,” he said.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Jan. 31 that the late start for Tampico is a wait-and-see situation right now. “The market in Mexico is higher this week, which is keeping supplies down there,” he noted. “There are several harvesting, but everything is staying down there. That may not change for a couple of weeks. Currently, there is probably a $10 difference on yellow jumbos, and other colors are similar.” He added, “We’ll look at the situation again Monday or Tuesday.”
Mike Davis with Tex-Mex Sales, LLC in Weslaco, TX, told us on Jan. 31, “I anticipate we are a couple of weeks out with our Mexican product. As we all know, it’s hard to nail down an exact date, but that’s what we are looking at right now. When we start-up, we are looking at whites first, followed by yellows, and then reds.
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on Jan. 31 that the S. Texas crop is “coming right along.” Regional temperatures have been warmer, and that trend is forecast to continue with possible cooling in February. “We’re right on the edge of a warming trend,” he said.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us on the last day of January, “Everything is growing in the Rio Grande Valley.” That season generally kicks off in mid-March.
Mike Davis with Tex-Mex Sales, LLC in Weslaco, TX told us on Jan. 31, “Everything looks good with our Texas crop, and we are targeting mid-March for rolling out our 1015’s followed the rest.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Jan. 31, “Everything in Texas looks great, and we are on target for a mid-March start-up,” Jason said. “When we get going, we’ll have whites, reds, and yellows all going simultaneously.”
Cliff Riner with G&R Farms in Glennville, GA, provided his company’s crop report via video. Thanks to Cliff for sending photos this week, including this week’s featured image.