Weather presents challenges for Texas spring produce deal

04/16/2014 11:03:00 AM
Jim Offner

“In addition, bolting (seed stems) have developed in some varieties which is reducing yields in probably 30-40% of the acreage. Fortunately, the issues have been ones that are easy to find and grade out,” he said.

Onion acreage is down and timing is off, but there could be a bright side, said Don Ed Holmes, owner of The Onion House, Weslaco, Texas.

“Texas probably will star in mid-April, but I think, by then, Mexico will be on the way out,” Holmes said.

The timing is “interesting” and may leave a market window open to Texas, at least for part of the deal, Holmes said.

“What makes this exciting, is Idaho-Oregon is very close to finished. Those guys normally don’t finish until the last week of April or first week of May, and here they are finishing the last week in March,” Holmes said March 28.

Holmes said Georgia likely won’t start shipping any major volumes of Vidalia onions until May.

“So, basically, what you’ll see is South Texas is almost going to have this thing completely to itself, which has never happened, that I can remember,” Holmes said.

In that sense, the weather has been a friend, Holmes said.

“Plus, Mexico’s crop didn’t size up like they wanted it to,” he said.

Texas’ onion crop was shaping up well, Holmes said.

“For now, our crop looks very good, even though we’re not going to have the yields we had a year ago – I’m guessing they’re going to be off 10-15%, maybe 20%, less,” he said.

Uvalde, Texas-based Winter Garden Produce Inc. was still harvesting cabbage in late March, said J Carnes, president and owner.

“There’s not a whole lot out there, but what’s out there looks good,” he said.

Winter Garden Produce was looking to start its Texas onion harvest around May 1, Carnes said.

“Quality looks good but, kind of like the cabbage deal, it looks short,” he said.

 

Citrus

On the citrus front, production was “behind on movement,” compared to a year earlier, said Prewitt, who also is president of the Mission-based Texas Citrus Mutual.

“We can’t get in to harvest the fruit as quickly and timely as we’d like,” he said.

Dennis Holbrook, president of South Tex Organics LC, a Mission-based grower-shipper of organic citrus and vegetables, said the colder, wetter weather has had some advantages.

“We’re seeing part of that in that citrus trees were very dormant and had a considerable number of chilling hours and so when they started flushing and putting out blossoms, we saw probably one of the heaviest blooms we’ve seen in a number of years,” Holbrook said.


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