Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityFarmer who sold his cows and went out of the dairy business
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» June 17, 2009 «
Nationally, 388 dairy farmers have sold their herds and gone out of business as part of a privately funded program to reduce milk supply. Many of the 103,000 cows are from California farms. Dairy farmers who have been in business for generations are part of the buyout. Farmers continue to lose money on the milk they produce, but economists expect a major turnaround by fall as this program reduces supply. One farmer who sold his cows reported losing $70,000 a month in the last six months.
California cherry farmers will be harvesting fruit until about July 4, although volume will decrease. Consumers may notice a supply gap, with fewer cherries available as the California harvest winds down before the Pacific Northwest harvest starts. Overall California cherry producers have had a good year. The crop will probably be about 6 percent less than last year. Hot weather last summer in July and August when trees set the next year's crop caused unsalable fruit to develop. California ranks second in cherry production.
Turkey production in the Golden State declined about 3 percent in 2008. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says California farmers produced 435 million pounds of turkeys in 2008, compared to 450 million in 2007. The value of production was up about 19 percent, at an average 58 cents per pound. Farmers here do not produce enough to meet demand, so turkeys are imported from other states.
Robots may soon be harvesting fruit in California citrus orchards. A San Diego firm has already developed two prototypes. One with cameras mounted on multiple arms takes pictures of the fruit. This scout robot makes a map and a plan for picking, which is transmitted to the picking robot. Both robots could be ready for use within the next five years. One advantage is the robots could work both day and night. The Citrus Research Board has been working with the company developing the robots.Top