Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityWeather problems experienced by Northern California fruit and nut farmers
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» June 17, 2005 «
Nut crops are vulnerable to a number of fungus caused diseases. Usually it is dry this time of year, but with the rain in May and June almond growers have had to apply fungicides to protect the crop from disease. Likewise, walnut growers face similar problems and must guard against blight and other diseases. Rain was reported yesterday (Thursday) in the Sacramento Valley and more was predicted over the next several days. Those who've been in agriculture for a long time say they cannot remember a spring as wet as this one.
More expense is how Sacramento Valley cling peach growers say the mid-June rain is affecting them. The peaches are still green, so the rain won't hurt the fruit directly. But, the moisture does create fungal diseases and farmers must apply fungicides to protect the fruit they have. Growers cannot pass that expense along so it comes out of potential profit. With weather as unusual as it is this year, farmers hope none of the storms generate hail, which would damage almost every crop, including peaches.
Wheat farmers may look to a new niche variety that produces less per acre, but is perfect for making pasta. University of California researchers have developed a variety that has excellent noodle making qualities, as it does not turn gray. Researchers are advising farmers to explore whether they can get enough of a premium to offset smaller yields. Wheat prices have been dismal for the past few years, which may make the new variety more attractive to growers.
Strawberry lovers will soon have a better tasting berry to enjoy. UC plant breeders have developed a plant that produces great taste and good fruit firmness. Growers will like it as it has above-average disease tolerance. The new variety also has a lower cull rate. Some farmers experimented this year growing strawberry plants in tunnels to protect them from rain. Although it worked well, its not a perfect solution as the plants were vulnerable to different diseases when grown in tunnels.Top