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» February 11, 2009 «
Farmers in the Imperial Valley have started planting sweet corn for the spring crop. If weather holds, growers expect to begin harvesting about April 10. They have also started planting early melons that should be ready for market about May 5. Growers hope they've gauged the market right and haven't planted so much that supply exceeds demand. Labor supplies are reported as steady as many workers who left during the construction boom have returned to farms.
California winegrape growers produced slightly more than 3-million tons in 2008, about six percent lower than 2007. Vintners are pleased with the quality of the fruit, which they say will produce some great wine. The problem is there will be a shorter supply of wines from 2008. California has had three moderate to light crops since the record 2005 harvest. Yields of cabernet sauvignon varietals were lighter than normal due to weather, including a spring frost.
There seems to be less colony collapse disorder in honeybee hives this year, according to bee specialists. The disorder causes all the bees to abandon the hive, leaving no trace of where they went. Honeybees are being placed in almond orchards now in preparation for the pollination season, which will begin soon. Because of the economic downturn, it appears there will be a surplus of bees for pollination purposes this year. Almond growers without enough water may not hire beekeepers to pollinate their trees.
Dairy farmers will earn one cent less for every gallon of milk they produce March 1. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says the price will drop to an average of 97 cents per gallon. Cheese prices rallied slightly this week or the decline would have been more. It continues a decline from the peak in December 2007 at $2.01 a gallon. Some economists are projecting that dairy farmers will lose an average of $358 for each cow they milk this year if the price continues dropping.Top