Our friend Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, reported to us on Sept. 5 that New Zealand has finished its 2022 crop planting.
“They had a wet planting season,” he said, adding that fields were seeing five inches of rain each month from June through August. However, Robert said, “Everything went in. NZ harvest starts in early February and runs through March.”
More on that part of the world: Robert, who partners with Michael Blake with New Zealand Onion Co. on seed development, said he is currently working to export red onion seed to South Australia for planting.
“It needs to be in the ground ASAP, but there are lots of new hoops to jump through,” he said. “They no longer accept USDA purity tests. As of April, it must be an ISTA test, sampled by a licensed sampler of which there are none in CA. No certified labs ether.”
Robert said ISTA is the international seed testing association, and the seed he’s seeking to export was developed and produced in western Oregon.
“This variety produced in NZ did really well this season in Tasmania and Southern Australia. We think this lot being produced in the NW may do even better and fill their late slot,” he said. “We just produced a fresh lot in Oregon that’s being cleaned. Unfortunately, it’s too late to send south this season.”
He added, “I think Australia will be done planting by mid-September.”
Our thanks to Robert for providing photos of the seed variety, produced in NZ and grown in Tasmania and Australia. The photos are of Australian fields.