(Oct. 7) Onion shippers report lower acreage and yields and smaller sizes for this year’s storage onion deal.

Yields are expected to be down 5-15%, said Larry Sieg, sales manager of Sunfresh Inc., Royal City, Wash.

“Anything with your jumbos, colossals, or super colossals, 70-count or larger, will carry a hellacious premium,” he said.

The National Onion Association, Greeley, Colo., in an Oct. 1 report to members, estimated storage production to decline 5.8% from last season’s 81.1 million 50-pound equivalent boxes to this season’s 76.6 million boxes. The declines come in all major producing states except New York, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Stocks on hand declined 4% from last year’s 65 million boxes to this season’s 62.4 million boxes. The volume is considerably down from 1999’s 75 million boxes.

“This is probably the lowest inventory we’ve had in history,” said Bob Sakata, president of Sakata Farms Inc., Brighton, Colo.

Wayne Mininger, the onion association’s executive vice president, said the crop is manageable.

“It’s just slightly smaller than normal,” he said. “Harvest is progressing well in most areas.”

Mininger attributes the smaller sizings to the continued hot and dry summer growing season in Colorado, Idaho and Utah.