Here at Owyhee Produce, we went through a tough winter - like many shippers and growers in the Treasure Valley. We are glad to have our fallen buildings cleared away and new construction started, but the weather this winter still has some left over effects on our newly planted crop.
The long, drawn-out winter has kept temperatures cool for much longer this year than usual. We have also experienced quite a bit of rain this spring. The wet conditions have delayed planting the new crops. In order for our onions to fully mature before our summer gets too hot, we need the right amount of growing days in the ground. The delays have brought concerns that the crop would not get planted in time to ensure full maturity. At Owyhee Produce we have just completed our planting, but you can expect some reduction in yields from the valley if some crops don't have enough growing time.
In the Treasure Valley, our winters typically take this pattern : freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw. This pattern allows the soil to resettle from the previous season. This winter was a different story. Before the ground had a chance to freeze, we had snowfall. This snow then stayed for a very long time and acted as a layer of insulation for the soil, which never actually froze. Now that is it spring and we are beginning to work the soil, we have had to work with soil that wasn't completely reset from the previous season, and this has brought on some difficulties.
3. Crop Reduction?
At this point in the season, it is difficult to make predictions on whether these affects will trickle on to crop yields. The difficulty comes from not knowing what our summer will look like. Each onion variety has different needs. Some varieties will do perfectly with the conditions imposed by our interesting winter. Others need a cool, nice spring, and heat later in the summer. Depending on when our heat comes this summer will drastically affect certain yields. Any onion that is growing in heat around 90 degrees will stop growing from the stress of the heat. We are looking for that perfect warm/cool weather for our crops!
As always, we are waiting on Mother Nature to determine how severely, if at all, these conditions will affect the yields in our 2017 season. At this point, we have begun construction on our new storage buildings and a new packing shed. We expect to be working completely out of our new facilities by the first of the new year.