Forecast Predicts Big Idaho, Eastern Oregon Onion Harvest

Aug 31, 2018

Federal officials are predicting a bumper onion crop in 2018, but local producers are a little skeptical.

A forecast from the National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates Idaho farmers will harvest more than 680 million pounds of onions this year. So far, about 20 percent of the crop has been harvested.

If that holds true, that would be about 100 million pounds more than last year.

But Herb Haun, general manager of Haun Packing in Weiser, says that forecast might be too optimistic.

"We had an extremely hot August and we had some fairly severe windstorms mid to late August and I believe that our yield has probably been reduced maybe five percent," Haun says.

That said, he notes he’s shipped about 20 percent more onions than this time last year. Despite the less than ideal weather for the past month, Haun says the quality of the crop has been excellent.

In Eastern Oregon's Malheur County, production is up as well. The forecast estimates growers will dig up 120 million more pounds of onions this season.

As for the market, Haun says onion farmers may squeak out a bit of profit or at least break even.

Last year, Idaho, Oregon and Washington grew nearly half of all onions in the United States.

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