Vidalia Onions Could Be Impacted by Rain at Harvest

Jim Rogers Disease, Onion

By Clint Thompson
Vidalia Onions
Photo taken by Clint Thompson/Shows Vidalia onion research trials following rainfall at the UGA Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center.

Farmers of Georgia’s Vidalia onions are crossing their fingers and hoping for minimal impact from the rains the Southeast Georgia region has experienced in recent weeks.

Bhabesh Dutta

Onions are vulnerable to secondary pathogens during weather events, especially as the crop is being harvested. Bhabesh Dutta, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension plant pathologist, believes the impact could be felt in the crop’s quality.

“My concern this year is we may have a good yield, but the quality of onions might be impacted with these weather events,” Dutta said. “Most of our onions are at harvest maturity. Rainfall and weather events have a big impact in the overall quality of the onions, especially rainfall at harvest. It means our onions are going to be wet. They’ll have a lot of moisture.

“I was just looking at some of the fungicide efficacy trials. Some of my best treatments did not pan out what it should do in ideal weather conditions.”

Post-harvest fungal rots caused by fusarium, aspergillus and botrytis are concerning for producers, especially if they have to store their fruit for an extended period. Dutta said Georgia’s Vidalia onions will stay in storage until July, and in cool years until August. But at the very least, Georgia’s onions could be stored for the next three months.