Technology and machinery important to Idaho onions
Instead of relying on techniques like furrow irrigation, onion growers have begun to implement a new method. “We use drip irrigation in a large percent of our acreage, “explains Bob Simerly, an agronomist in Idaho, “A plastic tube is buried underground and contains many small holes. This not only allows better control of water delivery for the crops, but uses less water as the excess doesn’t run off the field.”
While technology helps onion growers in many ways, a downfall occurs with competitive measures. “It’s absolutely necessary to be ahead of the competition. We grow a great onion with the technology at our disposal, however if other regions adapted newer technology we have not implemented yet, then we could find ourselves at a competitive advantage.”
In future circumstances of onion technology, one point remains unchanged. “There will always be an industry as long as people want to eat onions.” Onion consumption throughout the United States is up overall, with an average of about 20lbs of onion per person per year.
With this rise in demand for onions, Idaho is the perfect State to grow them. The soil and the climate allow for the perfect combination. “Western Idaho has a very dry climate and we have ample irrigation. The mountains allow for us to collect water in reservoirs with drip irrigation and so we waste less and use less.”