The quality and quantity of this year’s Georgia’s Vidalia onion crop appears to be good, early in the harvest season, says Cliff Riner, crop production manager for G&R Farms in Glennville, Georgia. The weather is a big reason why.
“So far, very good for our farm. We have had good sizing, and the quality has been real good, partly because it’s been such a dry weather,” Riner said. “Onions everywhere else in the world are grown in the desert. In Georgia we have a lot of rainfall. Any time we get these pockets of dry weather, we try to take advantage of it.”
Plant diseases have not been a problem this year because of the lack of rainfall. The early morning dews also have not been a hindrance. Riner said harvest crews have been able to start their days earlier and be more productive when the temperatures are cooler.
“All the onion growers manage water. It’s real critical because the more water you put out, the higher the chance of disease,” said Riner, whose company farms 860 acres of Vidalia onions and markets several hundred for other growers. “We were real strategic over the past couple of weeks, in what we call spoon feeding (the plants) water; just giving them enough to get the size profile we needed. What’s good about that is we followed it up with real arid days. So, when we lift the onions, they’ve been drying out in five days, where normally it would take seven to nine days to dry.”