Food & Farm News
February 3, 2016
Snow survey shows improvement
While warning that California remains beset by the effects of a four-year drought, state water officials say they continue to see optimistic signs in the Sierra snowpack. A manual survey conducted Tuesday found snow depths 10 times higher than a year ago at the survey site. The overall Sierra snowpack stands at 114 percent of average. But the state’s largest reservoirs remain low, with storage ranging about one-third to three-quarters of average.
Rains benefit cattle ranchers
Wetter winter weather could help California ranchers offset the impact of lower cattle prices. Rainfall has allowed stock ponds to replenish and grasses to start growing. That should help cattle to grow to higher weights more rapidly. As a result, even though the price per pound for beef cattle has been slipping, ranchers will have more pounds of beef to sell, which could counterbalance part of the market effect.
Beer sales affect wine market
Rapidly increasing demand for craft beers has had an impact on the California wine market, especially among people in the so-called millennial generation. Market analysts say millennials older than age 21 account for 35 percent of beer consumption but only 20 percent of the wine market. The demand shift has especially affected wines costing less than $9 a bottle. Sales of wines costing $10 or more have performed better.
Analysts look at egg price trends
Retail egg prices may stay higher for a while, analysts say, as farmers rebuild their flocks after last year’s outbreak of avian influenza in the Midwest. Egg prices jumped nearly 21 percent in the third quarter of 2015 after the poultry disease hit egg-laying hens. U.S. Agriculture Department analysts say retail egg prices tend to be volatile, because eggs require little processing and have a limited shelf life.