Onions with global appeal

TASMANIA’S onion harvest is in full swing and with a global shortage pushing up prices market conditions this year are looking ideal.

Warm and dry weather in recent weeks has been just what growers and processors were hoping for as crops across the North are lifted ready for harvesting. Onions are a major crop for vegetable company Harvest Moon.

Harvest Moon managing director Mark Kable said seasonal conditions in the northern hemisphere had impacted crops there, after a major heat- wave hit Europe and the United Kingdom last year.

“It’s been reported that Europe are a mil- lion tonnes short of onions,” he said.

He said short supplies in Japan and the United States the previous year were also contributing to the global shortage.

“We’ve had two years now where world stocks have been on the shorter side of sup- ply,” he said. While most of the company’s onions go to the domestic mar- ket, Mr Kable said lower sup- plies generally have an impact across the board.

“We do play in the export markets as well and while a lot of onions go to export markets it’s also pulling onions off the Australian market, which puts positive pressure on the price there too,” he said.

This time last year our onion season wasn’t that good, and yields were down right across the country from paddock to paddock and move to different districts to find suitable dry ground to get onions in.”

Mr Kable said in December had helped the crops recover. onions up there at the moment because we’ve got a customer that needs them,” Mr Kable said.

Mr Kable said the recent weather had been ideal for harvesting.

“Even Australian stocks have been short the last two years. “We wanted to get more onions in, but we had to swap Despite the difficult plant- ing season, Mr Kable said an improvement in the weather Japan is one of the company’s biggest markets for red onions.

“If we could have this all the way through until Easter I’d be a very happy person. And since early December we can’t really complain about the weather.” An extremely wet spring in Tasmania has meant some onion crops could not be planted this season. “We got our targeted area on our red onions, but not quite on the browns.”

About 60 per cent of the company’s onion production are the brown variety and the red onions make up 40 per cent. The company stores onions on site which are then distributed throughout the year and has recently invested in two new cool room storage facilities at its Forth factory.

“It’s absolutely perfect onion harvest weather,” he said. “In fact, we’re airfreighting Water Market Advice and Strategy Short & Limited Term Opportunities Seeking Permanent Water Entitlement