A good-sized group of Treasure Valley onion growers and seed representatives attended this year’s Oregon State University Malheur Extension seed trial event in Ontario, OR, on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
Representing OnionBusiness.com was Publisher Sherise Jones, who chatted with the attendees and event hosts while she took photos of the goings-on.
Sherise reported that Extension Research Assistant Erik Feibert headed up the trials and told her, “We were lucky with planting this year. We got the onions in on March 21, and we were able to avoid some early spring wet weather conditions.” Erick added, “During growing we didn’t experience extreme weather conditions, and while the yields haven’t been as large as past years, overall both yields and sizing look good.”
Sherise said the consensus among growers was that the trials turned out well, and she said Casey Crookham with Gowan Seed attended the event with his new salesperson, Wade Schwark.
Casey said, “Since Gowan bought out Scott Seed in 2015, things have continued to go really well in Treasure Valley. We are fortunate to bring Wade on board. He is extremely knowledgeable about a variety of vegetables and has worked all over the country.”
Sherise said, “Casey mentioned that one of the standout varieties of the trials was Crookham Company’s yellow Caliber variety, and he told me it performs much like the well-known Joaquin variety, producing good size, single centers and nice, white flesh.”
Treasure Valley grower Logan Skeen also weighed in on the trials, telling Sherise, “This year’s trial onions don’t seem to have achieved the top end on sizing, but the quality is extremely nice. And I do want to add that the Extension always does a great job with the trials and more regional growers should take advantage of their services. Skeen Farms relies on the Extension staff’s expertise to help all year long, assisting us with our crop management. Their knowledge is critical to our operation, and our family has always been very strong supporters of the OSU Extension.”
Also on hand was Josh Robertson, seed representative with Keithly-Williams. Josh said, “The onions look nice. There are good stands, nice skin and good on sizing too.”
And Rene Emch with Enza Zaden lauded the Extension staff, saying, “They always do a great job!” Deron Beck with Seminis agreed, saying, “You just can’t find a trial like this anywhere in the country. The Malheur Extension does an excellent job.”
Sherise asked Extension Director Stuart Reitz what he and his staff are focusing on with Treasure Valley growers this season, and he told her, “We work closely with area growers on all aspects of their onion crops, but we have placed a large amount of focus on irrigation and what it takes to manage a crop when the move is made from furrow to drip.” He added, “It takes a lot of TLC to raise a quality crop, and that’s what we are here to help with.”
Now view onions and smiling faces captured at this year’s event: