UPDATE: ONIONS – NORTHWEST STORAGE SEASON OUTLOOK

December 23, 2021

Strong onion demand persists. Northwest suppliers remain concerned about meeting demand when the season begins to wind down in February/March.

  • Markon First Crop Onions out of the Northwest are expected to remain on the market through late April; supplies will not last into May
  • Markon is currently in discussions with Texas and California onion suppliers
    • Mexican onions are forecast to enter the U.S. in late-January
    • Texas’s domestic season is currently slated to start in mid-March
    • California ordinarily begins by late April but could potentially start in early April
  • Idaho, Oregon, and Washington experienced record high temperatures in late June through mid-July
    • Onions were in the latter stages of the growth process during the heatwave
    • High heat and smoke from fires dramatically slowed maturity, resulting in smaller size and reduced yields
    • Defect challenges are forecast for late season onions due to the disruption in the growth cycle
      • Dry scale is the most common issue to be seen as a result of the heat
      • When growth is hindered due to excessive heat or lack of adequate water, the inner bulb may set a small layer of dry skin around the top of the bulb, which the outer layers will grow around as the onion continues to grow, leaving what looks like a gap between the layers
  • Translucent layers are also a quality concern that may be seen occasionally in late-season onions
    • In storage, onions at the bottom portion of a storage pile endure pressure from the weight of the supplies above
  • Onions exposed to low temperatures during hauling from storage sheds to production facilities or in-transit after shipping can develop translucent scales
  • Translucency is a scoreable defect when visible across the circumference of three or more layers
    • Suppliers are unable to detect defects such as dry scale and translucency during the sorting and packing process; the defects are internal and appear under the dry, outer skin of the onion (photos attached)

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

©2021 Markon Cooperative, Inc. All rights reserved.