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Roland Roberts, David Bender and Samuel Field

Extension-research teamwork supports Texas High Plains onion grower-shippers in transition from unprofitable labor intensive marketing and culture to profitable mechanical systems that are less stressful to workers. System comparisons include machine harvest vs. lifting and hand clipping; stationary seed grading and bagging vs. mobile field grading and bagging; transplant vs. fall seeding, spring seeding and dry set production. Old marketing systems cost growers $4.30/50-lb. sack, and the innovative system costs $2.59 to $3.00/sack. Old transplant systems average $450 to $500/acre and direct seeding costs $200/acre. Net increase in return to grower management from adoption of new systems range from $1,300 to $1,700. Extension and research conduct economic analysis, cultivar performance trials, seeding technique studies and on-farm demonstrations.