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» August 17, 2005 «
Results of unfavorable weather at planting time last spring have started to show up in California rice and cotton fields. Federal surveys list 55 percent of the state's rice in "fair" condition … though observers say recent hot temperatures have aided the crop's progress. The same report lists 15 percent of California cotton in "fair" condition. In prior years more of each crop was described as good or excellent at this point in the season.
The onset of the grilling season helped retail beef sales continue to gain momentum during the second quarter of the year. The California Beef Council says increased supplies also contributed to push retail beef volume up 12 percent, compared to the same period a year ago. Beef also increased its share of overall meat sales, despite strong retail prices. California ranks seventh in the nation in sales of beef cattle.
With acreage increasing, even the small California pistachio crops have become larger. Pistachio trees produce smaller crops in alternate years, and this is the "down" year in the cycle. But farmers say production could be significantly larger than the last "down" year because of expanded pistachio plantings. Demand continues to increase as well, and marketers will use pistachios remaining in storage from last year's harvest to meet that demand.
Stability has characterized the overall mushroom market the past couple of years, both in California and nationwide. A new report says the volume and on-farm value of California mushroom sales declined slightly in the past year. California farmers sold more than 118 million pounds of the main variety, Agaricus mushrooms, ranking second to Pennsylvania in total sales. Nationwide sales of specialty mushrooms increased 14 percent.
On the Calendar:
The Yolo County Fair opens today (Wednesday) in Woodland.