Posts Tagged “Texas onion shipments”
A near-shutdown of foodservice outlets and booming demand from retailers resulted in Texas onion grower-shippers opening their season with unprecedented market conditions.
There were ups and downs in onion shipment due to the combination of factors — caused by social distance restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. in March.
Frontera Produce Ltd. of Edinburg, Tx reports onion shipment got off to a quick start out of the gate, driven by higher retail demand. However, by March 27th Loadings nearly came to a standstill. But a better balance has since come about as retailers learn to balance their orders.
Onion shipments started around two weeks early this year, compared to 2019.
Looking at the fast start from a volume perspective, during the week of March 15-21, Texas onion shipments totaled 15.4 million pounds (385,000 40-pound cartons), up more than fivefold from just 2.8 million pounds (70,000 cartons) the same week last year.
Bebo Distributing Co. Inc. of Pharr, Texas, notes there had be been good supplies of Texas onions going into May.
In 2019, the USDA reported Texas shipments of top commodities were:
- Cabbage: 86.04 million pounds;
- Grapefruit: 183.13 million pounds;
- Onions: 246.2 million pounds;
- Oranges: 83.13 million pounds;
- Seeded watermelons: 22.64 million pounds; and
- Seedless watermelons: 598.28 million pounds.
South Texas onion shipments have been increasing since there should be strong volume by mid-April.
Favorable weather and temperatures during the growing season have only dipped into the 30s a couple of times with no reports of freeze damage.
Early season shipments from the Lower Rio Grande Valley have been lighter due to a lot of rain and some cooler weather. The first Texas onions are usually loaded around St. Patrick’s Day.
Last year, onion acreage in the lower Rio Grande and the Winter Garden-Uvalde region was a little over 7,500 acres.
During the past few years, acreage has been increasing in by about 100 acres or 200 acres annually, but there is some thought that attrition and cutbacks by onion growers could cut acreage by 20 to 30 percent this season.
About 70 percent of the acreage is located in the Rio Grande Valley and 30 percent in the Winter Garden-Uvalde area. Valley shipments should continue into late May or early June.
Winter Garden and Uvalde onions will start by the end of April and run through June.
The Onion House of Weslaco, TX has spoke of a strong, quality crop, aided by a nice winter and a good spring. Most of the Texas onion shipments will occur from April through mid-May.
During 2018, there were adequate onion supplies from Mexico and south Texas, in addition to late-running volume from Washington and Idaho-eastern Oregon, which tended to flood the market.
This year an onion shortage in Holland and an expected quicker end to the Peruvian onion season has American growers more optimistic, since Mexico and then Texas’ onion crop will be the only fresh new crop of sweet onions available.
Last season there was a significant increase in truck rates for onion shipments as demand outstripped the supply of equipment. This season growers are reporting better truck supplies, although rate increases are expected moving into spring.
Here’s a news roundup ranging from Texas onion loadings to increasing shipments by an Ontario company, as well as a Colorado produce shipper, and finally, an update on blueberry imports.
Texas Onion Shipments
South Texas onion shipments get underway within the next couple of weeks, but due to industry consolidation and decreasing numbers of onion growers and shippers over the past 15 years, there has been a 31 percent decrease in the number of onion producers and a 34 percent decrease in the number of handlers.
The Rio Grande Valley of South Texas has about 60 onion growers and about 30 shippers. Total shipments of south Texas onions were about 3 million 50-pound equivalents for the 2015-16 season,
Texas onions, Mexican imported produce – grossing about $3400 to Chicago.
Red Sun Shipments
Red Sun Farms of Lemington, ON is expanding its shipments of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to include Golden Sun Avocados.
Best known as a North American greenhouse grower, Red Sun Farms will be handling avocados produced in Mexico, and distributed through the company’s supply chain to service customers throughout North America.
Red Sun Farms will begin distributing the Mexican avocados during the second quarter of 2018.
Sakata Sweet Corn
Sakata Farms of Brighton, CO is changing its farming operation and discontinuing sweet corn production, and concentrating on onions and other crops.
The company is holding a farm equipment auction March 10 at 9:30 a.m. Mountain time. The company will no longer raise sweet corn, broccoli and cabbage.
Fresh blueberry shipments take place in the U.S. the year around, made possible in large part by the increasing amount of imports from South America, which supplies product during the offseason of U.S. blueberry shippers. Chile is the leading country supplying “blues” this time of the year to the U.S., accounting for 52.7 percent of fresh cultivated blueberries over the past five years.
Since 2013, however, Mexico, Argentina and Peru significantly increased exports to the U.S. Argentina has upped exports to the U.S. by 35 percent from 2013 to 2017, Uruguay is up 46 percent and Mexico is up 414 percent.
Percentage wise, the biggest increase has come from Peru, with U.S. imports from that country up 3,971 percent from 2013 to 2017.
Overall, blueberry imports are up 44 percent.
by Stemilt Growers
WENATCHEE, Wash. – Stemilt and their marketing partner, Douglas Fruit, are gearing up for another successful Artisan Organics® apricot season, which is predicted to start two weeks later than normal. Stemilt expects their organic apricots to begin harvest in late June, with volumes ramping up quickly for promotable volumes throughout July….Meanwhile, here’s a summary of the just finished Texas 1015 onion shipping season.
With a historic early start last year, it is only fitting to experience a late start for crops up and down the West Coast this year.
The Douglas family tree fruit growing roots date back to the 1890s and today, the fourth generation is hands-on when it involves the family’s growing and packing business, which includes apricots, peaches, nectarines, apples, and cherries. In 2007, the Douglas family started the transition process to move the majority of its apricot orchards to organic production, as well as their entire crop of peaches and nectarines, viewing the move to organic as an opportunity to differentiate the flavors of its stone fruits.
“We’ve found a great niche in growing apricots organically that matches well with our flavor focus,” said Jill Douglas, co-president of Douglas Fruit. “We farm in the best locale, Washington’s Columbia Basin, where warm days and cool nights create beautifully colored fruits with exceptional flavors. Artisan Organics® apricots really exceed standards thanks to the climate and organic farming practices.”
Stemilt accounts for approximately 40 percent of Washington State’s apricot crop taking the leading position in apricot production. Stemilt is also the leader in organic cots, with 60 percent of its entire apricot crop grown and certified as organic. The leading variety that Stemilt produces is Robada.
The peak of organic apricot shipping season should start in early July and continue through the first three weeks of July. Organic food sales are growing by double-digits annually.
Yakima Valley apple shipments – grossing about $5700 to New York City.
Texas Onion Shipments
Texas onion shipments were down early in the season, but finished strong where shipments for the overall season were about average. The Lower Rio Grande Valley was hit by excessive rains and insect damage by thrips. Thrips are a minute black winged insect that sucks plant sap and can be serious pest to ornamental and food plants when present in large numbers. Texas 1015 onion shipments got underway in early March about a month earlier than normal. Typically Texas will ship about 350 to 400 truck loads of 800 bags (40,000 pounds) daily, but during the period for Easter loadings shipments rose to around 480 to525 loads per day.
Lower Rio Grande Valley watermelon shipments – grossing about $4400 to New York City.
Mexican mango exports to the U.S. are picking up as the second half of the season should be much better than the first half. Meanwhile, as South Texas onion shipments finish up, a new crop is expected to start a little further to the north.
Mexico is the fifth-largest producer mangos worldwide, and is the largest single exporter of fresh mangoes. About 35 percent of Mexico’s mango production is exported, with 90 percent going to the U.S. In total, Mexico produces an estimated 1.6 million tons of mango each year.
Mexican mango exports are recovering from an initial drought that affected the start of the shipping season. However, during the second half of the 2017 season, industry figures are forecasting an upturn in total production and are comparing it to 2016. Mexican mango exports to the U.S. are picking up after lower volumes during February and March and are expected to overtake last year’s figures.
Guatemala, which is nearing the end of its export window, has also experienced a similar season to Mexico. However, Guatemala certainly benefitted from the slow season start of Mexico, which helped its exports to the U.S. Guatemala has also enjoyed a positive mango export season, with final production volumes expected to total 25 to 30 percent more than last year. Up until the week of March 27, the country had harvested 653,780 boxes, and the total at the season’s close in late May is expected to reach more than 5 million boxes. About 90 percent of Guatemala’s mango exports go the U.S.
Texas Onion Shipments
Mexican onions are finished, while sweet onions off of Lower Rio Grande Farms are quickly finishing, with the last loads expected the week of April 24th. Meanwhile, a few more Texas 1015 sweet onions are about to start out of the Winter Garden District, just south of San Antonio. For example, Southwest Onions of Mission, TX will starting harvesting from the Winter Garden area around May 1-5. The company should continue shipping until the first week of June.
Mexican tropical fruits and vegetables crossing through South Texas – grossing about $2800 to Chicago; $4400 to New York City.
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.
South Texas onion shipments could be down at least 10 percent this season. Plus, here’s an update on U.S. russet potato shipments.
A year ago Texas onion acreage had declined to less than 6,000 acres. This year, under 5,000 acres are believed plantedL.
Last season it rained almost non-stop for two months, resulting in less than half a crop, while some growers were literally rained out for the season. Much acreage was abandoned and couldn’t be harvested. The 2016 Texas onion harvest should get undeway in late March.
In late February, onion volume coming from Mexico and crossing the border in South Texas was lighter than normal, but it now showing substantial increases in volume.
Meanwhile, storage onions shipped from Idaho and Oregon warehouses will be declining soon. Also, California’s Imperial Valley was the only area with good supplies in April last year, but no estimates have been released on this area yet.
Russet potato shipments have been steady, with the vast majority coming from Idaho, Colorado, and Wisconsin. Wisconsin russet shipments should continue until around mid-July. At this time some Wisconsin potato shipments then buy and sell spuds from growers in mid-Southern states.
While volumes are similar to last year in Wisconsin, 2015-16 shipments will likely be up from the five-year average and up significantly from the average over the past couple of decades.
As always, Idaho easily lead U.S. potato shipments and is averaging about 1750 truckloads per week. Colorado’s San Luis Valley is shipping about 750 truck loads of potatoes a week, while Central Wisconsin is loading about 400 truck loads each week.
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.