Comparison of Onion Varieties Candy and Delgado

2016 Summer
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Anyone who has attended our winter meetings the last several years is aware that I’m not a big fan of the onion Candy.  The variety has several positive qualities including large size and a good flavor, and is excellent for the fresh market.  But as with many of the sweet Spanish type onions it is not bred to be stored for any length of time.

Onion variety trials, Bejo Open House, Geneva, New York, 2016

Although somewhat tolerant to pink root, Candy is quite susceptible to many other diseases that affect onions.  Cornell performed disease susceptibility research in 2010 comparing five popular onion varieties, and Candy was the most susceptible of the five varieties.  We’ve also performed several onion projects in recent years with similar results.  Candy was always among the highest yielding at harvest, but was often in the middle of the varieties after even several weeks of storage.  Even though many growers have made significant reductions in disease loss when using the ISP Onion Program on Candy, it still exhibits some of the poorest tolerance to pressure.

This season we established a small onion plot at the Horse Progress Produce Exhibit, comparing Candy to Delgado, a variety bred by Bejo Seed.  Although the variety, Expression, also developed by Bejo, is the variety they report compares closest to Candy, we have seen that Delgado is as good, if not a little better choice in the Michigan/Indiana area.

Transplants were provided by Soil Friends, Kalamazoo, MI. The Candy transplants were started three weeks prior to Delgado, although all of the transplants were planted in the beds on the same day.  The Candy transplants were larger at the time of planting.  All of the onions were harvested the third week of August, with Candy being more mature at harvest.

Results are:

Candy Delgado
Average Bulb Weight (grams) 697.08 601.70
Average Bulb Diameter (inches) 4.98” 4.55”
Total Marketable Weight (grams) 36,329 36,866
Weight Disease Loss (grams) 8,981 1,041
Percent Disease Loss 19.28% 2.75%

Most of the disease issues were slippery skin, botrytis (neck rot), and one onion in the Candy with basal plate rot.

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