Posts Tagged “sweet onion shipments”
Sweet onion shipments are lower this season from Texas and Mexico as we move closer to loadings out of Vidalia, GA. Red potatoes are picking up in one state, while showing disappointment in another.
Peruvian sweet onion imports ended in early March as imports began from Mexico. However, Mexican onion imports are lower this season and are now starting to wind down. At the same time, Texas onion shipments from the Lower Rio Grande Valley have started.
Initial reports indicate Texas acreage will be under 5,000 acres, down from the 6,000-acre industry norm. Still, Texas onion shipments are now in good volume.
However, the nation’s biggest volume sweet onions come out of the Vidalia, GA area. Vidalia onion shipments are scheduled to get underway April 25th. A near perfect growing season has been reported from Vidalia. This season, Vidalia should have production from about 11,600, down a little from a year ago, when there was over 12,000 acres.
The Vidalia region’s 65 growers in 2015, shipped 17% of Georgia onion shipments in April, 36% were moved in May, 27% in June, 16% in July and 3% in August. Total shipments of Georgia onions were about 4.2 million 40-pound cartons in 2015.
Red Potato Shipments
The Red River Valley (eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota) usually has its biggest shipments during November and December, but a bumper Wisconsin red crop and a weak Canadian dollar over-supplied a market resulting in fewer shipments. This year February and March are believed to be the two busiest months with 539,000 hundredweight (cwt.) shipped from the Valley in February, up over 13% compared to last year, and slightly more than either November or December. Some wash plants have added extra shifts to handle the demand and trucks have been in good supply thanks in part to the slowdown of the oil patch in western North Dakota.
Meanwhile, the later Florida crop is expected to be better, but who knows for sure considering the early Florida crop didn’t live up to expectations. South Florida red potato shipments are expected to increase in early April.
South Florida potatoes, tomatoes and vegetables – grossing about $2100 to New York City.
Red River Valley potatoes – grossing about $3000 to Dallas.
Texas Onion Shipments
The Lower Rio Grande Valley is just starting to dig sweet onions, with shipments of this product from South Texas to get underway within days. This is taking place the same week that onions crossing the border from Mexico are expected to end. Likewise, storage onions from Idaho, Oregon and Washington are also finishing up.
The Lone Star States is expected to have about 3,500 acres of its well-known spring onions, which are usually shipped for about six weeks from early April to mid-May. The 3,500 acres represents about a 2,000-acre decrease in plantings from a year ago.
South Texas produce shipments (grapefruit, oranges, cabbage) and Mexican produce shipments (tomatoes, watermelons, tropical fruit, vegetables) – grossing about $2800 to Chicago; about $4800 New York City.
Vidalia Onion Shipments
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has set April 27 as the official shipping start date for Vidalia onions, although growers can ship before April 27 if their onions meet federal inspection requirements and are under “positive lot identification” as approved by the Federal State Inspection Service. This means Vidalias shipped before 4/27 cannot be sold as Vidalias.
Bland Farms, Glennville, Ga., has challenged the 4/27 start date in court and a judge in Atlanta ruled in favor of Bland Farms. However, the state has appealed the ruling.
A panel of three judges of the Georgia Appeals Court heard arguments Jan. 14 and have taken the case under advisement. They did not indicate when they may issue a decision.
Bland Farms, contends Black violated state law by trying to impose a new rule instead of going through the state’s legislature. The growing/shipping operation has some of the southern most fields in the Vidalia onion growing districts and believes its onions mature earlier, and should be allowed to ship under the Vidalia name prior to 4/27.
The Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel met with Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black March 23 and recommended an April 27 shipping start date this season for the state’s trademarked vegetable.
Under Georgia law, the ag commissioner sets the beginning of shipping each year. The commissioner is not bound by the advisory panel’s recommendation, but Black has followed it during his tenure in office.
Vidalia onions are maturing about 10 days later than usual because of weather conditions this winter.
Meanwhile sweet onion supplies out of Mexico and Texas have had consistency issues. Vidalias can be shipped prior to the official starting date, but cannot be labeled as Vidalia onions. No double some shipments from Vidalia will begin the first or second week of April.
In mid-March, despite a wet winter with 20 inches of rain in since mid-December, the Vidalia crop looks clean, but that could change if problems such as disease arise.