While harvest is coming to a close shortly, Ontario onions are looking to have a good average crop.
“Some onion varieties were challenged in the heat we had this summer. They were just hanging in there to stay alive and didn’t do much growing over a few weeks period at a time,” says Jason Verkaik of Carron Farms in Bradford, Ont. “But then other varieties did well and came through.”
In total, he says the fields balanced themselves out with some producing below-average volume and others produce above average, depending on the variety used. “Most years you’re going to have three to four different varieties of onions on the farm because you can never predict the weather. Some do well in all types of weather but you won’t get bumper crops. Others do really well in a hot dry season and another that does really well in a cool wet season. So you get that balance. And if you get the perfect growing season, then all four will do well.”
He notes that for Carron, some of the longer-term varieties with stronger root structure did better this year.
Different from 2017
Either way, it’s a welcome picture compared to last year’s crop which had to deal with flooding over the summer and other elements. “We had a challenging year last year so I’d say we’re better than last year,” he says.
While harvest began on time, Verkaik does note that the break between the transplants and the first season onions coming out was probably longer than anticipated. “The tail end is pushing a little later than normal but still within the window of when we’d like to have it done by,” he says. He anticipates having onions until May-June 2019.
Demand meanwhile is also good. “I haven’t heard of any bumper crop areas yet so demand is good,” he says. “Once everybody gets stuff off the field, supplies will tighten up a bit. But it looks like it could be a positive year for sales with some decent pricing.”
While pricing has come off a bit in the last couple of weeks, Verkaik estimates it should strengthen once the harvest has finished, which for Carron, will be next week.