Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityImpact of the federal biological opinion on water supplies south of the delta
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» December 17, 2008 «
Weather forecasts of freezing temperatures in Southern California and the Central Valley have farmers testing their arsenal of frost-protecting equipment--including wind machines, heaters and sprinklers. Oranges can withstand temperatures of 28 degrees for short periods of time because of their high sugar content; lemons do not have that protection. The cold is predicted to be of short duration.
A new biological opinion regarding protections for the delta smelt could reduce water deliveries to cities, farms and businesses by as much as 50 percent. State and federal water agencies are reviewing the opinion to determine how to conform to it. Meantime, work on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan continues. That plan is addressing all factors in declining fish populations. The hope is the proposal will be released within two weeks. For the coming year, water contractors with the State Water Project can expect only 15 percent of their allotments due to drought and regulations.
Strawberry growers report some damage from rain in Southern California, but say it is not significant. The plants in Ventura County that were ending production did so early. Although there has been an interruption in some production, the California Strawberry Commission says consumers should still find ample supplies of fresh strawberries in retail stores. Growers in Orange County say their plants have not started producing yet and that rain at this time is beneficial.
Sales of large farm tractors and combines were up in 2008, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. The increases reflect the stronger commodity prices some farmers were earning as they modernized their equipment fleets. Combine sales were up more than 21 percent in 2008, while sales of tractors 100 horsepower and more increased nearly 30 percent. The association projects a 9-percent increase in combine sales for 2009 and a 4-percent hike for tractors.Top