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Herald and News June 3, 2010

Rob Wilson, the farm adviser for the Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake, said the unfavorable weather in the Klamath Basin has been hurting onion producers.

"These cold temperatures are wreaking havoc on the onions," Wilson said. "We've had a lot of wind and we've had some hail. A lot of the onions get blown with blowing soil, and that has resulted in poor stands."

With fewer plants surviving in each row, farmers are looking at reduced yields already, Wilson said. Some farmers have lost entire fields, he said.

"All the onions, or the majority of them, are gone. If you don't have the necessary number of plants in the field, you're not going to have the yield you need at the end of the season," Wilson said.

While those producers who lost plants a few weeks ago have had the opportunity to replant, those who are still losing plants won't, Wilson said. It's too late.

Wilson said if the area gets some warmer weather, the plants could catch up, but right now nearly every crop in the Klamath Basin is behind.

A seed corn maggot that is attacking potato fields also has been found in onion fields in the region, said Basin Fertilizer co-owner Bob Gasser.

"There are already half a dozen onion fields that had to replant," Gasser said. "This critter will eat the onion seed."

Gasser said onion plants should all be about 2 inches tall right now, but many fields still have tender plants emerging.

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