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April 23--  A short supply of Sweet Vidalia Onions this year will cause prices to increase.

"We've still got a lot of onions to sell, but we don't have as many as in years past," reports Bo Herndon, Chairman of the Vidalia Onion Advisory Council.

{mosimage}Farmers are finding many onions in their fields are experiencing seed stem.

"Usually when you have an onion that seed stems, that onion will not get very big at the bottom.  It feeds through the top and you have a big, bushy stem that comes out.  You can't sell that onion to anybody because it's hollow in the middle of the onion and has a big stem in it," Herndon says.

Herndon says this year's crop was hurt by a rainy growing season.  "We had all that rain back in February and March.  Growers down here got from 17 to 21 inches of rain in that period of time.  That stressed these onions out and that's what caused these seeders," he says.

It's too early to tell how much of the crop will be lost, however, Herndon says he's already lost more than a quarter of his crop.

"I've got fields with about 27% damage right now.  Nobody is going to be exempt from it, it's going to be everywhere, he says.

As a result, Vidalia Onion farmers will have to raise prices.

"Let's just say I've got 50% left in my field and onions are bringing $20 a box.  For me justifying going out there and tryiing to harvest the crop, I've got have $40 because I'm throwing away half the crop.  Now I'm not saying that onions are going to $40 a box, but they are going to have to bring more this year, there's just no way around it," Herndon says.