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Spring, summer climate swings batter Malheur County’s onion harvest

A steep shift in the weather last summer, where high temperatures scorched the county for weeks, impacted the 2021 onion harvest. (The Enterprise/File).

Heat hammered the local onion industry in 2021.

Local onion producers and packers suspected in the fall that lower yields – triggered by a wave of high temperatures last summer – could be a prevailing feature of the harvest.

Two months after the last truck departed the local onion fields, it appears their concerns were justified.

While firm yield statistics won’t be available until at least March, local onion fields aren’t producing the 43-ton per acre average hit in 2020, said Stuart Reitz, Malheur County extension agent.

The lower yields also produced smaller onions overall and created new challenges for producers and packers as demand for larger – or . . .