Featured image:Brent & Regina Hines Farms in Delta, CO. Photos from David DeBerry of Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX.
It’s all good news this week coming from Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor. “We will be done with harvest this week,” he said. “We just need about another day. This season’s quality is absolutely excellent. In fact, it’s the best I’ve seen in years. The size profile is larger than usual too. So, we want our buyers to know that if they are looking for larger onions out of the Midwest, we have them!” Doug said demand is high this week. “We are really rockin’ our packing,” he said. “And this season we are seeing stronger than usual demand for this time of the month. The food box program is helping, and retail demand is strong. I have to say that we are really excited about the season moving forward. The market is stable, and we anticipate that when folks finish up with the harvest, we will probably see prices edge up.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX, said on Sept. 30 harvest weather on the Western Slope of Colorado was “absolutely perfect. He said, “Last couple of years we had rain and early cold during harvest, but neither is the case this year. And the condition of the crop going into storage is fantastic.” Photos from David taken on Wednesday, Sept. 29, show Brent Hines putting onions into storage. Also, David said a new consumer bagger will be installed next week to make 3-lb. yellows all season. “Size profile is good for mostly jumbo yellows and medium yellows. There are some colossal yellows but not super heavy. Whites are 70 percent jumbos probably.” David said all three colors will run through the end of the year and possibly into January. Many thanks to David for this week’s featured image and more photos of Brent & Regina Hines Farms in Delta, CO below.
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, told us on Sept. 30 that harvest was at 80 percent. “We will finish up next week,” Herb said, adding the finish was right in line with normal years. “The weather forecast looks good,” he said. “And the onions coming in are very nice. Our storage crop looks good, and we expect to have very nice quality for the rest of the season.” The market, Herb said, “is still pretty good, and we haven’t had the typical slowdown we often have this time of year.” He said Idaho-E. Oregon movement is ahead of last year at this time, and he said, “Foodservice is surprisingly hanging in there.” Transportation is “adequate,” although Herb noted, “It will be tight all year long.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported from his Nyssa, OR, sales office on Sept. 30. “Wow! We are so busy,” he said. “Demand is excellent. All colors and sizes are moving well across the board, and there is a big pull for whites. Mexico is purchasing a lot of whites right now.” When asked about the reason for the high demand, Jason said, “The Food Box program has a lot to do with it, but there is a lot of optimism too. Foodservice is opening back up, and people are going out. And on the retail side of things, there are still school closures and kids are eating at home more with their families.” Jason said the market is steady. “While the market is holding steady right now, I think we should all be pushing it up. When you factor in such high demand, it’s a good time for pricing to climb.” Jason noted that transportation remains rough. “Boy, transportation is about as ugly as I’ve ever seen it. When you have so many shippers needing trucks and Railex closed, the freight rates have become outrageous! You’re looking at $9 to $10 on freight to get onions back East. That’s pretty bad when freight costs more than the product.”
Trent Faulkner with L&M Cos. reported that all is running smoothly for the areas L&M has going now. “In Rocky Ford, CO, and Ulysses, KS, we have about two to three more weeks left for harvest,” he said. “We are extremely pleased with the quality we’re shipping from these areas, and we are running all colors now. Demand is very high, and we are going full steam.” Trent added, “We have a good freight advantage going just about anywhere East. Whites are definitely the price leader. As long as Mexico is pulling, prices will continue to escalate, and then they’ll flatten out once Mexico’s whites come on.” Trent said that the company’s Warden, WA, onions are also moving well. “We’re done with the early stuff, and now we’re into our long- day varieties, and quality looks extremely good,” he said. “We are running at about 90 percent production and will be at 100 percent soon. It’s all good, we don’t have to be in any big hurry.”
S. Texas/Tampico, Mexico:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission said on Sept. 30 his growers will start planting in the Rio Grande Valley next week or the week after. He said conditions have been good moisture-wise leading up to planting. “And we’re finishing up planting in Tampico with our 100 percent transplant crop. We’re scheduled to be finished this week, and I would say acreage is about the same as last year.” Shipments should start up in early February, although David said, “The weather in December and January will determine that more than when the crop was planted.” Seed beds were planted in August, and transplants put in during September.