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» January 5, 2011 «
The expectation of dry weather along the Southern California coast this week will help strawberry growers prepare for a return to production. Rain and wet fields have halted the harvest for now. The California Strawberry Commission says farmers in Orange and San Diego counties may enter the market as soon as next week. They had not started harvest before the storms hit, and the rain actually stimulated strawberry growth there.
Besides adding to levels in California reservoirs, the December rainstorms also filled stock ponds that provide water for livestock. Rangeland specialists say the precipitation has also improved pastures around the state. A government crop report says cattle ranchers have been able to greatly reduce or even eliminate the need to feed their animals hay or other supplemental feed, because the rains have rejuvenated rangelands.
In the Imperial and Coachella valleys, farmers report scattered frost damage to winter vegetables. Farmers say the damage is relatively minor and mostly cosmetic. Cold weather in the desert valleys will slow crop development and supplies for a short time. The impact of the frost may be evident this spring, in sweet corn planted to be harvested in April. Farmers won't know until closer to harvest whether the corn suffered any damage.
Lemon and mandarin growers in Ventura County are coping with a crop quarantine imposed after an invasive insect turned up in two separate citrus groves. The insect, the Asian citrus psyllid, threatens fruit trees. Authorities placed the entire county under quarantine, prohibiting the movement of nursery stock and requiring that all citrus fruit be cleaned of leaves and stems before leaving the area. Farmers and packinghouses have started work to comply.Top