Despite extreme dryness, grower-shippers say a shortage of rain hasnât harmed the Vidalia onion crop and planting remain on schedule.
Most of the Vidalia sweet onion growing region remains under severe to extreme drought, according to climatologists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationâs Climate Prediction Center.
In late December, R.T. Stanley, president of Stanley Farms, Vidalia, Ga., said the fields have received some rains but not very much. He said irrigation systems have allowed growers to keep their plantings on schedule.
âWe are headed in the right direction if nothing happens to us but we still need a lot of rain to get us back up to normal,â he said. âIf we continue to have dry weather right on through the growing season, we will have to depend on irrigation.
âIt will add to our costs but we hope that by doing a better job getting them planted and to be able to control the weather, as far as pumping water when we need it, it could help make the difference for us,â Stanley said.
While most Vidalia growers try to finish planting by Christmas, Stanley said he and some others plan to finish by early January. Last fallâs heavy rains delayed plantings until February.
The Vidalia harvest normally begins in early April.