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» April 14, 2010 «
Weekend rainstorms have slowed field preparation and planting of various crops in the Central Valley. Farmers need dry weather before they can plant melons, tomatoes and other vegetables. Scattered hail may have damaged tree crops such as fruit and nuts in some orchards. However it may be a month or more before the damage becomes noticeable. Tree farmers are applying materials to control potential fungal diseases. Cold temperatures have slowed cotton planting. Mild, warm, dry weather would enable farmers to resume planting work.
April is when navel oranges start to bloom, which sets next year's crop. Starting in the southern San Joaquin Valley the trees blossom and emit a sweet aroma that many tourists enjoy as much as the farmers do. Growers hope for mild weather as the trees bloom, but rain doesn't usually affect the blossoms. Harvest continues in many of the orchards and harvest crews enjoy the beauty and scent of the bloom as they pick this year's crop. Navel orange harvest is expected to continue through June, but the bloom will be finished at the end of April.
About a thousand acres of farmland in Sonoma County will be added to the European grapevine moth quarantine after three of the insects were found west of Calistoga. Inspectors say it will be May or June before they know the extent of the infestation of the invasive insect. The insect does not move great distances under its own power, but spreads when infested plants or farm equipment are moved. The quarantine will be designed to restrict such artificial movement of the European grapevine moth.
Dairy farmers will earn about 8 cents a gallon more for the milk their cows produce May 1, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The average on-farm price for a gallon of milk will increase to $1.33. However, it still will cost farmers more to produce the milk than what they earn in return. Prices for butter, cheese and powdered milk all increased during the month, which pushed the milk price higher. However, analysts say demand for cheese has dropped in recent days, providing an uncertain outlook for the volatile milk price next month.Top