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» January 23, 2006 «
Just as beef exports to Japan started to reopen after a two-year break, the door slammed shut again (Friday). Japan renewed its ban on U.S. beef after a shipment from a New York packing company was found to contain banned meat cuts. California beef exporters expressed frustration with the renewed ban. Japan has been the top foreign market for California-grown beef, but originally banned imports after a single U.S. case of the cattle disease BSE.
Wheat planting continues in California, and surveys indicate the state's farmers will plant smaller crops this year. A government crop report said (Friday) that California farmers will sow about 13 percent less winter wheat than they did a year ago. Farmers will also reduce acreage of the "durum" wheat used to make pasta. The report says planting of winter wheat should finish this month, while planting of durum varieties continues in the San Joaquin and Imperial valleys.
Cotton farmers in the Sacramento Valley have seen growing demand for their crops, from seed companies. Farmers estimate that up to half the cotton grown in the valley is used to produce seed for later crops. Seed marketers say the Sacramento Valley has produced consistent cottonseed crops the past few years, while producers in Texas and other states have suffered from weather problems. As a result, the Sacramento Valley has enhanced its reputation for producing high-quality cottonseed.
A long trip begins this month, for the plants that will produce future California strawberry crops. At farms in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, offshoots from "mother plants" will be prepared for shipment to Northeastern California. Once there, the offshoots will be raised at plant nurseries. In turn, the nurseries ship strawberry plants to farmers in Central and Southern California. Strawberry growers say the process yields plants that better withstand stress from weather or disease.Top