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» November 11, 2008 «
Volatility continues in the price California dairy farmers earn for their milk. The price will drop nearly 20 cents a gallon December 1 to a statewide average of $1.43, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. All the commodities used in establishing the price declined in October, led by cheese prices. The on-farm milk price peaked last December at $2.01 a gallon and has been lower since. A hearing is scheduled next month to consider changing the way milk prices are set.
Weeks ago, they were abundant with grain. With harvest complete, the 500,000-plus acres of California rice are teeming with millions of wildlife and waterfowl. The state's rice fields provide food and habitat for herons, egrets, ibis and more than 200 other species. Rice fields and adjacent wetlands provide a "bed and breakfast" for nearly half of the estimated 7 million waterfowl using the Pacific Flyway. The state's drought has raised concerns by growers about having an adequate water supply to maintain these environmental benefits.
Almond harvest is over, but the crop is not completely processed. With production in excess of one billion pounds, the shelling and other processing taxes existing equipment. In recent years the process hasn't ended until January, when it is expected to end this season. Meantime, growers store the almonds in their orchards under plastic tarps that are ventilated to let moisture escape. This allows growers to safely maintain almond quality until nuts can be sent into the processing system.
By growing canola experimentally, researchers have succeeded in reducing selenium content in Westside soils. The program involved a Fresno County farmer and a U.S. Department of Agriculture research team, which blended the canola oil from the crop with diesel fuel. The leftover material shows possibilities of being used for livestock feed with a supplemental selenium source, which livestock needs.Top