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Pacific Northwest moves significant onion volumes into national pipeline

Onion production continues to be a thriving industry in the Pacific Northwest. Several publications issued by the states of Oregon and Washington provided a snapshot of regional production for the 2011 crop year.

Oregon Agriculture: Facts and Figures was released by the Oregon Department of Agriculture in July, 2012. Looking at the 2011 crop year, onions ranked 11th in the state's top 40 commodities list at a value of approximately $92 million. Oregon was ranked first nationally for storage onion production, accounting for 27 percent of total supplies. CropOverviewThe Pacific Northwest provides the nation with strong volumes of storage and non-storage onions. Oregon ranked first and Washington ranked second nationally for onion production during 2011 according to the states' respective departments of Agriculture. (Photo by Lora Abcarian)A total of 174.5 million hundredweight of storage onions were produced in 2011.

Onions produced in Malheur County are part of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion growing region and represent significant volume for the state. According to the 2012 Agripedia, published by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Malheur County accounted for 56 percent of Oregon's total production.

The Pride of Washington State was released this past October. Washington ranked number two nationally for its production of all summer onions in 2011, accounting for 21.2 percent of national supplies. The commodity ranked number 16 among the state's top 40 commodities during 2011, with an approximate value of production of $121.6 million.

The report set per-acre production for non-storage onions at 33,000 pounds per acre in 2011, with a value of $7,980 per acre. The per-acre production for storage onions was 65,000 pounds per acre, with a value of $5,206 per acre.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided detailed data for both Washington and Oregon in its Vegetables 2012 Summary, issued this past January. According to NASS, a total of 23,500 acres of summer storage onions were harvested in Washington in 2012. Yield per acre were set at 590 hundredweight, and production was set at 13.8 million hundredweight. The value of production in 2012 was $147.6 million.

In 2012, Washington harvested a total of 3,100 acres of summer non-storage onions, which includes Walla Walla sweets and other non-storage varieties. Per-acre yield was 370,000 hundredweight, and production was set at 1.147 million hundredweight. The value of production was $36.4 million.

NASS also provided data on Oregon onions outside Malheur County during 2012. According to the report, a total of 8,700 acres of summer storage onions were harvested. Yield per acre were set at 590,000 hundredweight, and production was set at 5.1 million hundredweight. The value production was $43.7 million.