Farmers see good onion crop in parts of Oregon, Idaho

Posted at 1:09 PM, Oct 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-28 15:09:27-04

This year’s onion crop is looking good for farmers in southeast Oregon and southwest Idaho.

Yields appear to be slightly above long-term averages. The harvest and size of onions have been exceptional and that most of the crop was harvested before the frost, Kay Riley, general manager at Snake River Produce in Nyssa, Oregon, said.

While Riley said internal decay can occur after about a month in storage, that does not appear to be an issue so far at Snake River, which began packing in mid-August.

Last year’s late-starting season saw below-average sizes and yields. Stuart Reitz, Oregon State University Extension Malheur County crop agent, said this year’s crop looks more like the 2016 crop, with good skin color and size.

Decent growing conditions helped overall quality and yield.

When morning temperatures drop into the upper 20s, growers wait until later in the day to harvest and handle onions so they don’t bruise them, Reitz said. Onions sitting on the ground get some additional heat from the soil, he said.

Nyssa-area grower Paul Skeen said his crop looks “excellent, probably the best I’ve ever seen. Quality and appearance and everything else.”

His harvest was largely completed before the Oct. 15 frost, as was much of the area’s onion harvest, he said.