26 April 2019

Planting onions

One of the crops planted at this time of year, in spring, is onion. Last week we were with our friend César Luis (from Las Pedroñeras) in one of their fields where they were planting onions. We could discover the tools he uses and the technique he applies is quite curious as you can see in our photos and in this video that we have found searching on the Internet.

The onion plans arrive at the field from the greenhouse in trays of 448 plants (they can also be served in trays of 1,000 plants and 724 plants). César Luis only had trays of 448 plants. The number of plants required for one hectare is about 200,000 plants (about 450 trays per hectare). This quantity can vary according to the distance between plants as the distance between furrows is fixed at 45cm. As you can see in the pictures, the operators have a tube that ends at the tip where they are throwing the plants that are planted in the ground. One person can plant about 90 trays (about 40,000 plants) in one day. The price they charge for this work is around 1.6€/tray and the price that César Luis pays to the greenhouse for the plant is 0.009€/plant.

However, before planting the onion, you need first to prepare the soil very well and make a good fertilizer. César Luis on this occasion has added 250kg/ha of Entec 20-10-10 fertilizer. After the plantation tasks it is necessary to give an irrigation of approximately 4 hours (by sprinkling) if he doesn't want to loss plants, also it helps to the roots to grow well. Another task that must be done right after planting and watering is the phytosanitary treatment in which rooting and dimethoate are provided. This phytosanitary treatment is very important as the plant is cut from the greenhouse. In those cuts that have the leaves can introduce some quite dangerous diseases, so you have to make about 4 phytosanitary treatment during the first month.

Once the period of phytosanitary treatments has passed and the heat increases due to the fact that we would be in June, irrigation becomes practically constant because onion is a crop that needs a lot of water. The final objective is to have a production about 90,000 kg/he that together with a reasonable price (about 0.12€/kg) make this option an attractive crop. This crop has a reputation for having very variable prices where there are years that you can earn money but others you can lose a lot.

Versión en español.

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