Onion Cropping Ideas

  1. A strong biological soil is the backbone of maximum production of both yield and quality in any crop. Benefits of increased biological activity in the soil are:

  1. Water Penetration and holding capacity by promoting increased soil flocculation. As the microorganisms move about in the soil in search of their food they restructure the soil by pushing the particles around. These particles are then held in place by the fungal hyphae and the polysaccharides that are exudates from the bacteria and other organisms resulting in a soil structure or crumb structuring of the soil.
  2. Increased nutrient availability to the plant by oxygenating the soil and thus stimulating more root development along with an increase in nutrient mineralization.
  3. Suppression of soil borne diseases and root feeding nematodes due to competitive exclusion.
  1. BioBase at 1 quart and Plus E at 6 ounces per acre in the fall:

  1. BioBase is product that provides food substrates, enzymes and bio stimulants to the beneficial aerobic microorganisms in the soil. While BioBase stimulates the complete soil food web Plus E provides an enzyme package that works more particularly with the fungal activity. Thus providing a stubble or crop residue breakdown recycling the nutrients or energy used to grow the previous crop. We know that 50% to 60% of the energy used to grow the crop is left in the field as residue and roots.
  2. Application may be made through the irrigation system, impregnating on a dry fertilizer blend, adding to a liquid fertilizer blend, or sprayed directly onto the soil or crop residue before or after tillage.
  3. Timing of application can be done any time just before or after harvest is complete. If fall fumigation is planned a 21 day waiting period is necessary. Break down of crop residue is a function of biological activity and thus requires moisture and warm soil temperature and as such the earlier fall applications will prove most beneficial.
  4. As crop residue is a function of soil biological activity the residue must be in contact with the soil for any biological action to occur. Any place the residue does not contact the soil prevents the microorganisms from doing their work.
  5. Applying 4 ounces per acre Microdigest along with the BioBase an d Plus E will increase the biological degradation of the residues in the soil. Microdigest is an inoculum of specific micro organisms that were selected for their ability to degrade crop and toxic residues.
  1. BioBase at 1 quart per acre in the spring:

  1. BioBase stimulates the complete beneficial soil food web using food substrates, enzymes, and bio stimulants but enhances more the beneficial bacterial activity.
  2. Application can be made, as with BioBase and Plus E, either through the irrigation, impregnating on a dry fertilizer blend, added to a liquid fertilizer blend or sprayed directly onto the soil. If spring fumigation is planned a 21 day waiting period is necessary.
  3. Timing of application can be any time that works easiest into the cultural practices of the grower. Keep in mind that the earlier the biology is kicked into gear in relation to the crop growth the sooner the benefits and advantages will be available to the new growing crop.
  1. Planting

  1. An application of RootMax has many benefits. Some of which are:
  1. Enhanced germination and root development. RootMax, through nutrition and enzymes stimulate sprouting and root development and thus you will get a stronger better developed root mass.
  2. The RootMax stimulates the Mycorrhizal fungi around the seed piece. Mycorrhiza has a symbiotic association between the fungi and the plant root. Most agricultural crops depend on or benefit substantially from mycorrhizae. As these fungi colonize the root they provide two functions; 1) help in the exchange and or availability of nutrients that the plant needs as the plant needs them and 2) as the root is colonized the positions or sites where an exudates may signal to a disease organism that a root is here are covered up and used for beneficial purposes.
  1. PGPR Galaxy is a universal bio-stimulant for plant growth promoting rhizobacteria that increases the biomass of mycorrhizae, nitrogen-fixers, P-solubilizers and disease antagonists in soils.
  2. There are different fertilizer mixes and or seed treatments that can be applied at planting to give a quicker germination as well as greater root development:
  1. A pop-up fertilizer of 2 lb. of urea, 1 quart of Sup-O-Phos, 1 pint Sup-O-K, 6 ounces RootMax, 6 ounces BioBase, 1 ounce PGPR Galaxy and 8 ounces Calcium mixed with 2.5 gallons of water and dribbled directly over the seed at a 3 gallon rate per acre. This will give the onion a strong star with readily available nutrients and Mycorrhizal stimulation.
  2. A liquid seed treatment of 6 ounces RootMax, 1 ounce PGPR Galaxy and 6 ounces BioBase. Mix with water and dribble directly over the seed at planting. This will give the onion a strong root enhancement and Mycorrhizal stimulation.
  1. Foliar Feeding

  1. A foliar Program to stimulate plant growth and provide nutrients to the onions can have some valuable effects on quality, quantity and storability.
  1. VitaMax at 1 pint per acre added to each fungicide and insecticide spray will stimulate the metabolism of the plant along with some nutrients. One of the important times is just as the onion is starting the bulb stage, just as the onion starts to expand and show a bulb.
  2. Calcium is very important in onion growth and storage and application can be made by adding 8 ounces per acre to the above VitaMax sprays.
  3. Sulfur is important in the development of glucoside oils in onions which help give the odor and flavor. Sulfur foliar will help enhance the levels within the plant. Applying at a rate of 1 pint per acre 2-4 times per season.
  4. Taking a tissue sample and foliar feeding according to the results can bring nutrients into balance and thus enhanced growth. This could be done 2-3 times per season.
  1. Finishing or Bulking

  1. To start the maturation process a reduction in the nitrogen level is necessary. This usually done by managing the soil, leaf and root nitrogen throughout the season. To obtain best results the total nitrogen in the leaf should be at 3.10% or below 3 weeks prior to rolling or undercutting.
  2. An application of 1 quart of CFM and 1 pint of Calcium 3 weeks before rolling and undercutting will enhance the efficiency of the maturation process. As this enhances maturation process proceeds a natural finishing of the onion takes place. The neck will tighten up and pinch off making a better storable onion as it prevents disease from entering through the neck. As the neck pinches off the tops will begin to fall over also. This natural maturation will also put a layer or two more paper around the onion making for easier handling.