Heavy rains and hail storms during Vidalia growing season, plus typical spring harvest rains, have cut a chunk out of the season’s yield, but harvesting hasn’t been delayed more than usual.
Since Vidalia shipping officially started April 16, some growers had 5 to 7 inches of rain, which stopped harvest for a couple days, but that’s not unusual, said Bob Stafford, Vidalia Onion Committee manager.
The April 25-26 weekend wasn’t rainy, so the soil has dried out, and it’s back to business as usual, he said.
The real kicker was the March rains before harvesting began, Stafford said.
“They sat in the water for awhile. It did stop the sizing, but we’re still going to have a marketable amount,” Stafford said. “Overall, we’re expecting to be down some with our yield volume, maybe 20%, but it’s hard to tell right now.”
The Vidalia region of southeast Georgia typically produces five to seven million bushels of Vidalia onions, he said. Expect more medium-sized Vidalia onions this season.
Generation Farms, Vidalia, had some hail during harvest that damaged some of its crop that hadn’t been harvested yet, said Lauren Dees, sales and marketing manager. The farms had five inches and four inches the last two weeks of April, but it’s dried up and harvesting has resumed, she said.
Hail at the start of April caused a loss of about 85 acres, or about 10% of the total crop.
The late April rains weren’t too bad, however, Dees said April 27.
“It has made it aggravating to get in the fields for harvest, but it looks better this week with open weather,” she said.