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IVI reveals the multi-layered aspects of onion storage

IVI stands apart in partnering with onion growers.

The sales and service team members at Industrial Ventilation, Inc. (IVI) have a long-running history of partnering with onion growers to facilitate the most optimal storage possible. Many factors come into play, including the onion variety, the maturity and condition of the onion at harvest, the growing region’s unique environment, and timing with market demands.

What IVI offers growers sets us apart. Namely, the products that control the storage environments, from ventilation and temperature control devices and systems, to the service that continues after the grower purchases the products. We know growers take great care in considering all factors in the growing process. When it’s harvest time, storage preparation and planning is the final, critical stage of maximizing profit. Timing really is everything!

For ideal onion storage, it starts at ground level.

Onions drying in a field before being moved to storage

Growers know that careful harvest ensures ideal conditions of the onions going into storage. When it’s harvest time for the bulbs, the least expensive manner of drying the bulbs comes from Mother Nature. Onions left in the field to dry prior to storage benefit from dry air for a fast cure. In some regions, like the southwestern U.S., this can be as quick as three to five days. In Nevada, onions drying in the field benefit from the dry climate and the wind. In other areas, multiple weeks are required. Steady weather conditions are obviously necessary during this time period. Growers will look to speed maturity with this drying phase. Surface drying aids the condition of the onions going into storage. In the Treasure Valley of Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon, in the Snake River Valley, fields can sometimes experience the effect of a low morning fog and the moisture it carries. Any kind of moisture is not ideal, and growers look to remedy this, including earlier entrance into storage drying.

When it’s time to move indoors, Anthony Molitor, Western U.S. Sales for IVI, explains that wood continues to be the most common type of building material for onion storage. Because of the low humidity with storage, the wood holds up well. “We’re seeing some movement to metal buildings,” says Molitor, “but largely, growers still use wood in the form of mostly straight-wall buildings and bin storage.”

Onions on roller while being sorted

Growers want the sort of onion that survives the sorting.

Careful machine operations at harvest help avoid injury to the onion. Cautious transport is also key to avoiding issues like bruising. Upon arrival to storage, scrutiny helps improve the odds of minimal storage problems that can stem from entry of injured or diseased onions. Sifting dirt and rock from the onions is also important. Planning in load placement within the storage facility also helps protect the integrity of the onions.

Success in onion storage stems from protecting the neck.

The chopped stem can be an entry point for moisture and disease. Drying the stem helps protect the bulb. The stem is considered the lifeline to the heart of the onion. The onion’s outer layers, once sufficiently dried, also protect the bulb. Moisture really is the enemy in storage. Curing at initial storage is needed in varying degrees, depending upon the growing region, the ambient conditions that occur, and how dry the onions are coming into storage from the field. IVI offers a heater that is called upon as the tool to speed the curing time period, allowing for a full 24 hours of curing run time.

Curing depends upon humidity and other relative matters.

Relative humidity in storage is dependent upon the growing region, and low humidity is always in order. The temperature is also key. With the IVI Imperium control panel, conditions can be set, monitored, and adjusted on demand. Many growers love the ease of using the app, allowing for convenient control from wherever they are. Growers want to see weight loss in the onion kept to a minimum, ideally at less than 5%.

All the time, the air has to flow.

Air helps dry. Air volume and flow, or CFM, is critical at all stages of storage. Compared to other root crops like potatoes, onions require five to ten times the amount of CFM. The ventilation tools and methods can be under continuous control with our control panel.

Layers of control, monitored by our control panel include all the important factors that come together to create optimal storage conditions. Along with air flow and volume, factors include dehumidification, refrigeration/cooling, heat, and more. Sensors within the storage buildings monitor conditions like temperature and humidity. Thermadoors can utilize existing, ambient air when appropriate. Centrifugal and prop fans are other components in a well-orchestrated storage system. Steady conditions after initial curing mean an ideal state for preventing the build up of any moisture or the threat of disease, ensuring successful long-term storage and onion dormancy. With our Imperium control panel, your successful parameters can be stored for later retrieval, with internal record keeping of important historical data.

Treatment at the point of storage makes Jet-Ag reliable insurance for growers.

Your IVI sales and service team members can help demonstrate how a treatment of Jet-Ag at the time of storage can enhance the ideal conditions for the longest hold needed for your onions. Jet-Ag is a desiccant, making it perfect for drying moisture, not only on onions, but at every nook and cranny of bins and buildings. The application kills pathogens, preventing post-harvest decay. The thermal vapor uses existing humidity and breaks down to just oxygen and water. This simple attack is safe to use and very efficient. Your sales rep can offer their expertise and schedule application. Our technicians have the experience for proper, effective application, saving you from this effort as well as the storage and maintenance of application equipment.

Our aim is helping growers control hold time.

Onions piled together in storage

Ultimately, growers want to present the absolute best product they can to market. They also want the option to hold their stored crop longer as needed, responding to demands in the market. This added control can help growers get the best return on their hard work. Gaining a higher price point with healthy onions is any grower’s goal. We want to help get you there. Our success is the ongoing relationships we have with growers, year after year.

“We really focus on helping growers get the best possible product to market,” says IVI’s Molitor, “at the very time they want to do that out of storage.”

Our Service Technicians set us apart.

Our sales and service team knows the products and systems to store onions successfully, adapted for the variables of regions and onion varieties. Our branches and dealers offer sound advice and well-made, quality-engineered products. Our Service Technicians step in and set us apart.

Our technicians are able to mobilize quickly as needed, due to the number of technicians we have on our team. We’re available in a true, 365-days-a-year, 24-7 fashion. We are set up to respond. Why we are is simple: there’s so much on the line for growers when help is needed. Problems in storage, such as the sign of disease or mechanical issues, require a quick, appropriate, and effective response, with no delay. We see ourselves as partners in your success, in both planning, implementing, and responding. Let us help build all the elements of your storage success, with service always at the heart of the matter.

Have questions?

Contact Anthony Molitor to learn more about IVI’s capabilities in onion storage.

Anthony Molitor

Nampa, ID  |

Nampa Sales

July 31, 2019