By Clint Thompson
Vidalia onion farmers are not just managing their crop for this season. They are planning for future seasons as well. That is why Wednesday’s Vidalia Onion Field Day was an important day for the industry.
Research conducted at the University of Georgia Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center (VOVRC) in Lyons, Georgia is vital to the industry’s future.
Chris Tyson, University of Georgia Extension Area Onion Agent at the VOVRC, discusses the significance of the research and subsequent information that was offered at the field day.
“It can be hard to stop what we’re doing, especially as we’re at the beginning of harvest now, but the things we’re doing may help us out next year or five years or 10 years down the road,” Tyson said. “I think there’s a lot of important things to look at like varieties and fertility practices and weed control, just to name a few. These are things that we’re working on that in the future may be able to help us out.
“We try a lot of things out, and a lot of things don’t work. But when we find something that works, it’s worth a lot to our industry, the growers and to the consumer in the end.”
Thrips control, disease management and variety testing were all highlighted during the Vidalia Onion Field Day event.
This Year’s Crop
Growers have already begun harvesting this year’s crop. But with increased rainfall this week and low temperatures in the forecast this weekend, producers are anxious, says Tyson.
“Right now, I feel like we’re in a good position. It’s a stressful, anxious time for the growers and industry, because we’ve got everything on the line. We’ve put everything into our crop,” Tyson said. “It comes down to, can we get it out of the field, get it harvested and get it stored safely? Right now, we do have a promising crop. This weather that we’re having, it’s typical and expected this time of year, but it always stresses us out. I feel like we have a good crop out there. We’re just doing all we can to get it out in a timely manner.”
The pack date for this year’s crop is April 12.