Navigation Links
Vidalia onions: Alternative to hand-transplanting proven effective

STATESBORO, GAGrowers in southeastern Georgia have the perfect combination of climate and soil to produce some of the world's best onions: the famous Vidalia sweet onions. Prized for their mild taste and sweetness, Vidalia onions are shipped throughout North America for use in recipes and relishes.

Onion producers in the Vidalia region have traditionally used transplants to produce dry bulb onions. Transplants are grown on farms in high-density plantings, then pulled and transplanted to their final spacing. The delicate nature of Vidalia onions requires that they be transplanted and harvested by hand. In fact, the entire Vidalia onion crop of 12,000 to 14,000 acres is hand-transplanted over an 8- to 9-week period.

This practice of hand transplanting relies heavily on a migrant labor force and is significantly more expensive than machine transplanting. Although field workers have historically been available during the onion season, producers in the area are concerned about the possibility of a dwindling labor force in the future.

George E. Boyhan, an Extension Horticulturist at the University of Georgia's Southeast Georgia Extension Center, and colleagues Juan Carlos Diaz-Perez, Chris Hopkins, Reid L. Torrance, and C. Randy Hill, published a study in the July 2008 issue of HortTechnology that evaluated direct-seeded onions as an alternative production method. This study evaluated variety, sowing date, and fertility on direct seeding short-day onions in southeastern Georgia. Boyhan explained the impetus behind his research; "Because of the higher cost of transplanting compared with direct seeding, this study was undertaken to evaluate effects of sowing date, variety, and fertility on direct seeding short-day onions in southeastern Georgia." Boyhan added that the research was also aimed at finding ways to lower production costs for growers.

The study results showed that sowing dates in early or mid-October did not affect total, jumbo or medium yields, and sowing onions in late October did not produce sufficient stand or yield to warrant harvesting. Variety also had no affect on yield of direct-seeded onions. Flowering, or seedstems, considered an undesirable characteristic, was significantly greater when the onions were sown in early October, compared to later sowing dates. Neither variety nor sowing date significantly affected plant stand or plant spacing.

"We recommend that growers direct-seed onions in southeastern Georgia in mid-October, plus or minus one week depending on field accessibility. In addition, current fertilizer recommendations for dry bulb onions should be followed. This eliminates all of the cost and resources required for transplant production", stated Boyhan. He noted that onions from transplants will likely predominate in the Vidalia region for the forseeable future. But direct seeding as an alternative method can save growers money. If the labor force necessary for hand harvesting becomes scarce, direct seeding can be a viable and cost-effective alternative.


Contact: Michael W. Neff
American Society for Horticultural Science

Related biology news :

1. Alternative methods proposed to detect pesticides and antibiotics in water and natural food
2. Alternative food networks connect ethical producers and consumers and can lead to healthier eating
3. The race for biofuels driving alternative sources of biomass
4. Bear spray a viable alternative to guns for deterring bears, BYU study shows
5. Synthetic molecules may be less expensive alternative to therapeutic antibodies, researchers find
6. Government, Industry Leaders Come Together to Explore Technology Alternatives to Border Fence for Security, Surveillance
7. Alternatives to ozone-depleting pesticide studied
8. Protein fibrils as alternative plastics?
9. New text highlights role of microorganisms in alternative energy development
10. Iowa Corn Promotion Board, NJIT to license breakthrough, safe bio-plastic alternative
11. Researchers create safer alternative to heparin
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has announced ... Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" report to ... --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent a ... vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% of the ... of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and 2017 ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... Nov. 19, 2015  Based on its in-depth analysis ... recognizes BIO-key with the 2015 Global Frost & Sullivan ... & Sullivan presents this award to the company that ... the needs of the market it serves. The award ... and expands on customer base demands, the overall impact ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... , Nov. 18, 2015  As new scientific discoveries ... doctors and other healthcare providers face challenges in better ... and patients. In addition, as more children continue to ... patient,s adulthood and old age. John M. ... Children,s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) . --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... December 1, 2015 ... the  "2016 U.K. Virology and Bacteriology Testing ... 100 Tests, Supplier Shares by Test, Innovative ... their offering.  --> ) ... U.K. Virology and Bacteriology Testing Market: Sales ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Global Stem Cells Group ... the Santiago Marriott. The Global Stem Cells Group GMP facility is equipped with ... qualified medical researchers and practitioners, experienced in administering stem cell protocols using highly ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ... has joined the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, alongside ... are standing with the Obama Administration to demonstrate an ongoing ... strong outcome to the COP21 Paris ... --> Sarnia, Canada . --> ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 Harvard Apparatus ... a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for ... notification from The NASDAQ Stock Market that it ... requirements. The letter noted that as a result ... stock having exceeded $1.00 per share for more ...
Breaking Biology Technology: