Food & Farm News
» March 23, 2005 «
Egg ranchers usually do well around Easter, but not this year. Prices have slumped and not recovered for the traditional Easter bounce, even though egg sales are 19 percent higher this week. California farmers are getting an average price of 39 cents per dozen for large eggs. Observers of nationwide egg farms say there are too many hens. They expect a reduction in flock sizes soon. However, consumers won't notice any shortage of eggs.
Although it has rained throughout the Central Valley, farmers aren't concerned about wet fields just yet. It takes about two weeks for the soil to dry enough for tillage after a rain event. Rice growers like to start working ground about April 1. If it remains dry following this series of storms, rice growers would be on schedule, but additional rain could create problems. Cotton farmers in the San Joaquin Valley haven't had as much rain, although some may shift planting plans to varieties that need a shorter growing season.
Imperial Valley onion and melon growers say their crops will reach market size later than usual this year. They blame cooler than average temperatures and cloudy skies. Onions will reach market about a week later than normal, around the first week of April. Melons may be two weeks late or about the third week of April. Growers are hoping market prices strengthen by then, as prices for both commodities are now low.
California nursery growers are looking for a good year. Some states banned California plant shipments last year after the discovery of sudden oak death pathogen on a few plants. New federal regulations have established standards that permit growers who comply to ship to all 50 states. Growers have new plant varieties and colors available and say early figures show consumers may spend as much this year as they did prior to September 11, 2001.
On the Calendar:
Sustaining the competitive edge for California agriculture will be the focus of the California Agriculture Symposium, which starts today (Wednesday) in Sacramento.