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» March 19, 2009 «
California farmers may feel the impact of Mexico's retaliatory tariffs more than growers in other states. Those tariffs will make California strawberries, cherries, pears, onions and wine more expensive. Mexican consumers have created strong demand for the smaller sizes of California-grown pears. Growers usually don't start shipping strawberries until mid-May. California cherries have been in demand in more affluent Mexican cities. Both governments have expressed a desire to resolve the trade issue quickly.
California apricot growers say the freezing temperatures earlier this month did not cause much damage. The trees are in blossom now and it looks like there will be a good crop. However, water availability is a concern to farmers. Many have wells to provide needed irrigation water, but at least one farmer is reporting he is unable to obtain water. Although there should be adequate water for a crop this year, trees need water later in the summer when next year's crop begins to develop.
State Water Project contractors, including 750,000 acres of Southern California farmland, will receive 20 percent of their allocations this season. The Department of Water Resources said the productive storms in February and March made a 5-percent increase possible. However, dry conditions prevail throughout the state. Runoff predictions this year are at 64 percent of average. Although it is a dry year, state officials say pumping capacity has been reduced another 30 percent to protect the delta smelt.
Milk production in the United States declined by 2.5 percent last month from February 2008, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. California milk production dropped by nearly 6 percent as the number of cows being milk also declined. Milk produced per cow dropped by more than 1 percent, as farmers responded to lower earnings for milk by selling cows and buying cheaper feed.Top