Featured image: Harvest at Zach Mason Farms in Fowler, CO
Zach Mason with Zach Mason Farms in Fowler told us on Oct. 7 that he’s winding up 2020 harvest with excellent conditions prevailing. “Harvest is going great. Couldn’t ask for more perfect weather. We’re in the home stretch now working on the last few.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Oct. 7 a change in the weather has been forecast, and while his operation continues to ship from the Western Slope, he added, “We’re mostly stuffing the bars because the weather is going to turn this weekend.” He said crews will finish out of the field this weekend, and shipments will begin out of storage next week. All three colors and all sizes are available, he said.
Robert Sakata with Sakata Farms in Brighton weighed in on Oct. 5 to tell us his operation is still busy harvesting. “I think by the end of this week we will have everything harvested that we can,” Robert said. “We had one field that we had replanted this past spring that got hailed, so it is very late in maturing. We may have to leave that one and just gamble that the weather will stay nice for another couple of weeks.” He continued, “We have not started shipping onions yet. We don’t have enough staff to both harvest and pack onions, and so we should probably start packing next week.” The Centennial State has battled wildfires throughout the summer months, and Robert noted, “Unfortunately regarding wildfires, the weather has been extremely dry and warm as all of Colorado is listed in a drought condition, but it has been perfect weather for our onion harvest.” He added, “I really feel for those people dealing with the fires.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, said on Oct. 7, “During this fall harvest we been lucky to have an ideal Indian Summer. Onions being put away are in great shape – they have good sizing and appearance and are solid as a rock, the best I’ve ever seen.” Chris continued, “The bulk of the onions have been harvested, with the rest of the stragglers to be done in a couple of weeks. Sheds and our fine grower base have been busy lining up storage crews and bins to get the onions off the ground.” And, he said, “Sheds have been busy as well taking care of domestic shipments for their program business as well as sending product to Mexico and Canada.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, weighed in on Oct. 7. “Demand has been very good this week,” he said. “There has been heavy demand for whites and reds to Mexico. The demand on yellows has been very good on all sizes.” Steve continued, “We have been very busy this week on harvest, and we have been very fortunate to have good weather. We’re hoping to be 90-95 percent by Friday night.” On market conditions, Steve said, “The onion market has been fairly steady all week on all colors and sizes.” And he said, “The quality has been outstanding this fall.” Transportation remains a “struggle at times for certain destinations,” but Steve added, “For the most part we getting the loads covered.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Oct. 7 that the Corinne, UT, onions are all in and will start running the middle of next week with all colors. He added that right now “Colorado has limited supplies available due to heavy storing and short labor.” And, Don Ed said, “Quality is great, and weather is great!”
Walt Dasher with G&R Farms in Glennville, GA, provided us with an update on Peru this week. “Supplies are tight because weather in Peru has been cooler than normal during the growing season, which has impacted our yields coming from this country,” Walt said. “The Peruvian sweet onion season began in July this year and will run through March. But this year the supply currently is down versus same time frame as last year due to the weather.” He continued, “But the sweet onion market is remaining strong, and we expect this to continue due to increased demand and shorter supplies worldwide.” Walt noted, “The worldwide onion and potato demand have been up considerably compared to the same time as last year. COVID-19 has been a strong driving force domestically since March because both onions and potatoes are staples. Because consumers are cooking more from home, they are purchasing more food in general but especially the key staple items. All indicators show that the demand will continue to remain high throughout this pandemic.” Thank you to Walt Dasher for sending a recent photo of Walt with the Peru crop.
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, said on Oct. 7 he was working on the company’s Tasman seed samples, preparing inventory for packaging and delivery to customers. He noted, “Our planting in both the Imperial Valley and San Joaquin Valley begins around Oct. 21. Both plant at same time, but San Joaquin comes off six to eight weeks later.” Robert said crews are still harvesting and packing in the Salinas Valley, “Although I’m not having to do it.”
S. Texas/Tampico, Mexico:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen said on Oct. 7 that his growers started planting on Oct. 6, with weather perfect. “We have sub-moisture in the soil, which is good. Everybody is excited to get started.” In Tampico, he said, workers finished planting the 100 percent transplant crop on Oct. 6.
Our friends in New Zealand are dealing with COVID-19 and also watching the skies for precip during their current growing season. This report was written by David Kana with New Zealand Onion Co. “Hello Onion People. We have a common enemy, COVID, not onion disease.” David continued, “Our Auckland dams are 66 percent full, and Auckland region is still in drought status. Temperatures are now + 15 C and up, and daylight saving has started.” David’s photos are early short-day crop, onions bulbing now and should be ready to harvest in late November. Other photos are standard intermediates around four-five true leaf, and they should be ready to harvest the first half of January. He said rainfall for September only 50 percent of average, and so irrigation is underway. Many thanks to Robert for sending recent photos of the New Zealand crop featuring early short-day onions and intermediates.