Colorado onions delayed but not damaged by rain

09/17/2013 02:26:00 PM
Tom Karst

Heavy rains throughout the front range of Colorado led to devastating floodwaters in multiple rivers and towns, but northeast Colorado onion sources say the rainfall may extend harvest this year but not ruin the crop.

The harvest period for storage onions was only just beginning, said Wayne Mininger, executive vice president of the Greeley, Colo.-based National Onion Association. Up to 8 inches of rain pounded the area over a six-day period in mid-September, he said Sept. 17.

The rain also robbed onions of dry, sunny weather that would help cure the onions before they are put away in storage, Mininger said.

“The maturing process is interrupted for a week,” he said.

In a normal year, harvest could be done by the first week of October, but Mininger said this year’s harvest could continue through mid-October.

Growers in northeast Colorado produce between 2,000 acres and 2,500 acres of onions, representing about 2.5% of the U.S. storage onion crop, Mininger said.

Chuck Bird, onion salesman for Martin Produce Co., Greeley, Colo., said the rains set back norkotah potato harvest a few days but didn’t interrupt onion harvest.

“We’re going into storage (with onions) in October so it won’t have an impact on us,” he said Sept. 17.

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