Weather delays start, but quality and yields should be good - The Packer

Weather delays start, but quality and yields should be good

06/10/2011 04:38:00 PM
Andy Nelson

“Size might be a problem,” he said. “Other than that, I think they’re all right. The crop looks a little rough, but we’re not too worried.”

Bergevin typically ships about 70% jumbos and 30% mediums. Mediums will likely make up more than 30% of the mix this season, he said.

Bergevin expects to begin shipping about June 25, at least a week later than normal.

Acreage should be similar as last year, he said.

“We’re quite a ways behind,” said Stefan Matheny, product development manager of Hermiston, Ore.-based River Point Farms LLC.

River Point’s harvest is slated to begin at the end of June, 10 days later than normal, Matheny said.

The cool weather won’t likely affect quality and yields, he said, but sizing could be affected. River Point’s 2011 acreage is slightly up from last year, Matheny said.

Kathy Fry-Trommald, executive director of marketing for the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee, Walla Walla, said acreage would likely be similar for the industry as a whole, too.

Growers are expected to ship Walla Wallas grown on about 1,000 acres, similar to last year and unchanged for about the past four or five years, Fry-Trommald said.

“It seems to be a comfortable level for us,” Fry-Trommald said of the current acreage level.

Growers were expected to begin harvesting about June 20, a couple of weeks later than normal, Fry-Trommald said.

At the beginning of June growers were working feverishly to get caught up after the cold, wet start to the spring, she said.

“Things are going real good. They’re taking it a day at a time.”

The late start won’t likely affect the deal’s end, she said.

“We’ll still ship through the end of August.”

Harry Hamada, manager of Walla Walla River Packing & Storage LLC, Walla Walla, expected his company to begin shipping about June 20.

Despite the cool, wet spring, the effects on the crop were expected to be minimal, Hamada said.

“The onions have been progressing fine,” he said. “Everything looks good, quality-wise.”

As of early June, sizing also was expected to be normal, Hamada said. Walla Walla River’s acreage is similar to last year, he said.

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