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» April 29, 2009 «
The canning peach crop is looking like it will be average. The California Canning Peach Association says the set is lighter than initial expectations, as some of the smaller size fruit will slough off. Some orchards were affected by the March frost and have lighter numbers of fruit, while others have no damage. The record-high temperatures in mid-April did not cause any additional damage. Farmers are conducting normal operations: fertilizing, irrigating and managing cover crops.
Even though farmers can earn a better price for their processing tomatoes, acreage is expected to decline slightly. Government announcements of slightly more irrigation water being available came too late for farmers to change planting plans. Growers will earn $80 per ton this year, a $10 increase from 2008. There may be some shifting of acres planted with processing tomatoes from the San Joaquin Valley to the Sacramento Valley, where some growers may have more irrigation water.
Walnuts and fish products in the diet reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study funded by the California Walnut Commission. The Loma Linda University authors say that including walnuts and fatty fish in a healthy diet lowered serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations. That reduces the chance for coronary heart disease. The study confirms previous findings by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Guelph.
Even before the drought, many Central Valley farmers began to abandon cotton as their cash crop for farm products that provide better earnings. Cotton earnings have declined in recent years. Some farmers have switched to almond trees; others are turning to pistachios and pomegranates. Those two commodities will tolerate the brackish water that comes from wells in some sections of the San Joaquin Valley. But farmers are also aware that if they switch too heavily to orchards, supplies could exceed demand and earnings would decline.Top