|Webber Iii, Charles|
|Perkins Veazie, Penelope|
Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2008
Publication Date: 7/3/2008
Citation: Shrefler, J., Roberts, W., Taylor, M., Webber III, C.L., Perkins Veazie, P.M. 2008. A fresh-market production system for the U.S. southern plains using short and intermediate daylength onion cultivars [abstract]. HortScience. 43(4):1227.
Technical Abstract: Onion is a fresh-market specialty crop for producers in the U. S. southern plains. Oklahoma onion crops are typically established using bare-rooted transplants of short-day cultivars that are set in the field in February or March. Fluctuating weather conditions (temperature and rainfall) impose limits on field accessibility for commercial scale production. Using a combination of replicated field trials and grower experience over several years, a mix of short day and intermediate day cultivars was found to provide several advantages for small-scale commercial growers. The use of a cultivar mix allows the producer to complete field operations associated with transplanting later into the spring, when weather is more favorable. Delayed maturity of the intermediate types extends market windows for fresh bulbs into the summer, and fits a market niche. Additional factors under study in the production system are plant sourcing and postharvest handling. Local production of transplants may offer some benefits to producers, such as reduced transplant shock, increased control over plant quality and increased choice of cultivar numbers. A possible production system using high tunnels was developed and is available for grower implementation. Similarly, intermediate day onion cultivars can be stored safely for several weeks following harvest from the field, a practice that provides the grower with flexibility in delivering onions to market. The optimum storage regime identified was refrigeration at 3 C.