John Harris with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Morgan has sent out a couple of reports this week, starting with Monday, March 25, when he said, “This market is a great state of flux.” John said the white market remained short, but “prices have back off a bit and are trading in the lower and mid $40s at the moment.” The red deal on Monday continued to be short, and John said, “I believe that it will remain consistent this week. Around $12should be the right go on both sizes but there is some business happening higher than that.” The yellow market was where he expected to see a major swing, and he said he was expecting the marketing in the NW “to come off quite a bit this week.” John said demand was “weak and there seems to still be ample supplies available.” Quality was “starting to dip, and people are going start making the switch to new crop. I’d expect FOB’s on storage crop medium and jumbo yellows to be below $10 by mid-week.” And, he said, “There will be both Mexican and Texas New crop available this week and supplies will begin to increase with Texas yellows going into next week.” On Wednesday, March 27, John said the yellow market had settled out at around $12 FOB in the Northwest, and he said, “Reds have also settled out around $12.00 FOB. We shall see if that trend holds. I am still skeptical.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said the Mexican domestic market “has been very active this week, and that curtailed the amount of onions coming up here.” He said his inventories remain “in good shape, and we have steady movement.” Don Ed added, “Mexico is probably 80 percent shipped, and we’ll finish next Tuesday or Wednesday, which is very early for us. Texas has some showers in the forecast for the weekend, and so we’ll probably start clipping Monday or Tuesday, and we should dovetail fairly nicely with Mexico, but not with a lot of volume.” He said, “Toward the end of next week we will be into Texas.” And, he added, “I expect demand to increase with the decrease in supplies.”
Dan Phillips with Central Produce Distributors in Payette, ID, reported on March 27 that demand has fallen off slightly. “You know, today has been pretty quiet,” Dan said. “I am not sure what that means. and it’s probably a number of factors, like Mexico shipping more last week and the fact that the end of the month is generally slow anyway. But I am not panicked. For me, I am in a very manageable situation, and I have all the business that I need.” Dan went on to say, “The market has dropped a little, but it’s still strong, and I think it is important to remember that dropping the price any lower is not going to get demand back up. And panic shouldn’t be the mindset right now. It won’t benefit anyone.” Dan said that the demand for Central’s yellows remaining is fairly equal across the board. He also said his growers have been actively planting for next season. “I don’t have the exact number, but I do know we already have quite a few acres in the ground, and our growers were able to hit hard this last weekend before the rains came in.”
Ashley Robertson with Fort Boise Produce in Parma, ID, said on March 27 the market this week is “somewhat steady, and demand is a little quieter.” She added that overall it’s been “a much stronger market than it was.” Fort Boise will ship into May, and Ashley said there are reds and yellows of all sizes available. “We’re shipping from ambient storage and some reefer,” she said. Fort Boise crews have been “actively planting for some time, and I’d say we’re maybe 30-40 percent in.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported that Eagle Eye is very busy this week. “Demand remains for strong for us this week,” he said. “Medium yellows are becoming more available which is good. Jumbos and up, and jumbo reds are doing well. We do seem to be short on medium reds. The market has dipped slightly this week, which makes me wonder why. With Mexico’s pricing and weather in Texas, I am not sure what is going on, but I feel confident that we can turn it around and get it back up there.” Jason said Eagle Eye will be in Idaho-Oregon onion until the end of April and then transition to Brawley, CA. “Our reports are that the Imperial Valley onions are doing well, and we expect a smooth transition in May.” As far as planting goes, Jason said the Idaho-Oregon growers have been getting into the fields to plant. “We have had sporadic rain, but we are steadily moving along.”
Jason Vee with Vee’s Marketing in Superior, WI, reported this week that “things have settled in Onion Land.” He said, “We are at least back to regular business where I can buy onions for today or next week without this price-same-day-of-shipment nonsense.” And never one to mince words, Jason added, “I think Northwest shippers pissed off quite a few people with that marketing. I know I didn’t like it. I have sold onions for $1/bag and $60/bag. I prefer the latter, but both ends of the spectrum have their challenges. Particularly, the lack of pricing and POs from shippers has made sales very difficult the last two weeks. So, it’s been challenging.” He continued, “Now things have leveled off. Markets are still strong, but they are more manageable. We needed Mexico to ship more, and we are getting that now. I’m curious what this transition from Mexico to Texas looks like. I know guys want to get started, but grounds are too wet.” Jason concluded, “With the Northwest being so depleted, I’m not sure Texas has enough onions for the nation for the next three to four weeks.”
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley in Columbus said on March 29 the recent bomb cyclone weather that hit a wide swath across the midsection of the country also hit New Mexico, and he and other growers had wind gusts of up to 70 mph tear across their fields. “Part of the New Mexico crop is gone, and quite a few farms had some damage,” James said. Carzalia Valley saw some onions hurt, but James said in the three weeks since the weather event, he’s seen a comeback in the fields. “We’re starting to see some onions recover,” he said. “Some we thought were gone are actually OK, and we’re still on track to start the season the third week of May.” All in all, he said, “It’s been a pretty good spring, and the onions do look good. The intermediates are doing well, and the transplants stuck and are growing.” He said the overall program will stay steady, although Carzalia Valley did up its reds somewhat. “There are a couple of new varieties both in the overwinters and intermediates, so we’ll have some to start,” he said.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his grower partners in Western Colorado and Corinne, UT, are getting back into the fields after rain delays. Both areas are on schedule, he said.