Sunshine on onions but pain in prices
A long hot season has delivered good yields for Tasmanian onion growers.
Harvesting is winding up and while it has been a long season of irrigation, the warm and relatively dry autumn has been ideal.
Mike Ertler from Premium Fresh said the company finished harvesting onion crops last week.
Mr Ertler said the good yields may have been helped by warm conditions in spring.
“The only downside is there was a lot more irrigation, but that’s not a problem unless people run out of water.
“None of our growers ran out, but some were getting close by the end.”
The dry conditions helped reduce disease pressure, with mildew in carrot tops and onion tops more common in wetter conditions.
Harvest Moon agricultural director Mark Kable said the company still had up to fortnight of onion harvesting and the crops were excellent.
“We’ve had a great season, yields have been fantastic.
“We’re still harvesting and the yields have caught us off guard. We’ve been struggling to find bins and places to put them all.”
Mr Kable said many factors, including warm spring conditions, particularly in November, led to great yields.
He said the company’s investment in a new onion planter and harvester, combined with improved varieties, was now paying off.
However, good crops interstate are also putting pressure on markets.
Mr Ertler said an over-supply of onions was pushing prices down but Premium Fresh had taken advantage of overseas demand and was exporting to Japan and Britain.
“Any crop that you can take out of the domestic market at the moment will help reduce the oversupply,.”
Mr Kable said stable weather in most states meant good yields across Australia and that was impacting on the market.
“Export is not as strong as it has been either,” he said.
“There is some demand coming out of Asia but that’s about it.”
Things are just ramping up for the state’s growers of processing potatoes.
Chairman of Simplot’s potato growers’ committee Trevor Hall said his harvest at Scottsdale was off to a good start.
Mr Hall said this was despite the Russet variety being off bit early and some pink rot around.
In the North-Eats, the first crops at Andrew Lester’s property were dug this week.
“We just started yesterday and so far things are looking all right,” he said.