Onion Variety Trial
P.E. Hendrickson

The Commercial Vegetable Growers of ND is trying to bring new high value crop markets into the state.  Mike Kirby, from Oviedo, Florida, was hired Executive Marketer for the Commercial Vegetable Growers of ND and worked during 2001 to connect with processing and fresh markets for vegetable crops.  There are currently 300 acres of onions, along with production of carrots, cabbage, and pumpkins.

For onions, varieties need to be identified that will mature, meet size requirements for processing, and have few double centers.  Single center onions give more rings per pound than multiple center types and they produce more usable product per pound to the processor.  The two most important factors for producing single center onions are variety and lack of early season stresses (cold snap, lack of water, or chemical (herbicide mainly)). 

In the future we will continue variety trials, and expand research to study production practices as well.

Onion yields ranged from 340 to 586 cwt/A (Table 2).  Onions grown in North Dakota are marketed for processing with a 3 to 4 -inch size requirement.  SWO 7074, SWO 7391, Vaquero, SWO 7761, and Tioga were the top yielding varieties in the 3 to 4 -inch category with yields ranging from 289 to 313 cwt/A.  All varieties tested had less than 50% single centers with the exception of Vaquero, which had 65% single centers.  The soil was allowed to dry out prior to a Goal + Buctril application at the 2-leaf stage.  This may have water stressed the plants, causing the low percentage of single centers.

Table 2.

NDSU Vice President,
Dean and Director for Agricultural Affairs
NDSU Extension Service ND Agricultural
Experiment Station
NDSU College of Agriculture NDSU College of Human Development and Education