Cliff Riner, coordinator of the Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center, spoke with AgNet Media’s Josh McGill at the recent 2017 Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in New Orleans. Riner discussed the importance of getting a good start to the season. The middle of November is typically when the transplanting process begins, he said.
“We’re still 95 percent or higher hand-transplanted, and that process will last through fall, past Christmas,” Riner said. He said the process will most likely conclude around the beginning of 2018.
A mild winter would be beneficial to the crop by allowing the root system to establish well and the onions to have a sweet flavor. However, Riner said researchers have found there are some varieties growers are using that can flourish in the cold.
He said that growers have learned they may be able to decrease acreage, while simultaneously increasing the volume of production. Riner credits industry research for this discovery.
“The varieties we have in our arsenal now are a lot better at being more consistent and providing a more stable yield per acre,” he said.
According to Riner, the benefits of growers devoting their time and money to help researchers will be seen this season with better longevity of the crop. This benefit will help growers, consumers and retailers.
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