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Audio ActualityComments about the impact of March storms on crops
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» March 23, 2011 «
Despite heavy rains in many parts of California this month, the California Strawberry Commission says consumers should still find berries in stores. Some farmers in Orange County have been able to continue harvest, while strawberry production in other regions has been delayed by rain. In Central Valley cherry orchards, farmers are assessing the rain's impact. Orchards in some cherry-growing areas were in full bloom when rainstorms hit.
Wet weather has slowed planting of rice and tomato crops in the Central Valley. Farmers say it's not uncommon for planting to be delayed until April. For cotton farmers, cool temperatures are the factor slowing planting of that crop. Soil temperatures must exceed 58 degrees for cottonseed to germinate. The rainy weather has also helped grass production on California rangelands, which encourages livestock farmers.
High winds toppled hundreds of almond trees in the Central Valley, though observers note that the losses are not nearly as great as occurred during storms three years ago. Almond farmers say they won't know how large their crops might be for another couple of months. Chilly weather has slowed development of buds on walnut and pistachio trees, which means they are less vulnerable to rain and wind so far.
With reservoirs filling as a result of recent storms, the federal Central Valley Project says it will increase the amount of water available to San Joaquin Valley farm customers. The CVP says farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will be able to purchase 55 percent of their contract allocations. That's up 5 percent from the previous allocation, issued last month. Farmers north of the delta will have access to full water supplies.Top