May 2022 - 1

Fertilizer, input costs
focus of UF/IFAS
MagrowTec aids spray
coverage, input costs
High-Tech Tools
Project shows markets
are essential businesses
May 2022 | Volume 56 |
Issue 5
From left, Walker Johnson, James Johnson, TJ Johnson and Bill Johnson, who run Carzalia Valley Produce, in a field
of red onions grown in southern New Mexico along the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo: Carzalia Valley Produce
By Doug Ohlemeier
Assistant Editor
Farming in the high desert of New
Mexico only feet from the U.S.-Mexico
border, Carzalia Valley Produce Inc.
embraces new technology to change and
improve its operations and grow onions
Family involvement is also important
at Carzalia, a subsidiary of the
104-year-old W.R. Johnson & Sons,
based in Columbus, New Mexico. In
the southwest part of New Mexico,
Carzalia farms 3,000 acres with pima
upland cotton and onions the majority
of production.
Carzalia also grows pecans and plans
to harvest its first commercial pistachio
crop in the fall of 2022. It also harvests
paprika chili peppers for dehydration
and durum wheat, the type of grain used
to produce pasta.
Farmed by the family's fourth and fifth
generations, the Johnsons enthusiastically
adopt environmentally friendly ways of
farming, including using technology to
raise crops that consume less water and
use fewer inputs.
From mid-May to mid-August,
Carzalia Valley grows yellow, red, white and sweet onions.
Photos: Kris Crookham
Technology, tradition help
Carzalia Valley Produce thrive
Carzalia harvests red, white, yellow
and sweet short day and intermediate
fresh onions. William Ralph Johnson
II, who died in 2002, worked with New
Mexico State
breeders to
develop an
sweet onion.
While most
sweet onions are short day onions,
the Carzalia Sweet, an intermediate
introduced in 1982, allows the Johnsons
to extend their sweet onion harvesting
from one month to almost three months.
Sweet harvest
" Our environment and cultural
practices increase the sugars, making it
sweet, " said James Johnson, vice president,
and William Ralph Johnson II's grandson.
The Carzalia Sweet hits the market
when other non-storage sweet onions
aren't typically available. Historically, it
follows the Texas 1015 and Vidalia but
ships before Walla Wallas.
Low pyruvic acid makes for Carzalia
Sweet's mild flavor. " You can have a mild
onion that's not sweet and you can have a
sweet onion that's not mild, " said Johnson.
" The best thing you can do is get the
combination of the two, which is a mild
sweet onion. That's why we work so hard
at developing and selecting for a mild
sweet onion. "
Carzalia plants a breeder nursery and
hosts extensive onion variety trials for
Crookham Co., a Caldwell, Idaho, seed
company, and sells seeds.
" Just as we have to talk with our
customers and find out and understand
what they are looking for, it's important to
work with good seed companies and build
on that relationship and understanding, "
said Johnson.
Regenerative course
The Johnsons are promoters of
regenerative agriculture, a system
of growing similar to conservation
agriculture that instead of tilling uses
cover crops, animal grazing, diversified
crops and hedgerows to reduce soil
disturbance and chemical use.
In 2020, Carzalia converted to all
regenerative farming, which allows
Carzalia to test instead of guessing
See CARZALIA, page 6

May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2022

May 2022 - 1
May 2022 - 2
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