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» February 28, 2006 «
Wet, windy weather hit the state's biggest orchard crop at a bad time, and almond farmers say it will be several weeks before they know the extent of damage to their crops. Because almond trees are in bloom, storms can knock blossoms from trees and discourage bees from pollinating the crop. Most almond growers applied materials to their trees prior to the storms, to ward off fungal diseases. Rain fell throughout the almond growing areas, with heavier amounts in the Northern Sacramento Valley.
Rice growers would like to drain their fields to prepare the land for planting, but storms have delayed that. Farmers apply water to rice fields during winter, to help decompose the rice straw left in the fields. The rice fields also provide habitat for birds that help in the decomposition process when they visit the fields. If the fields can be dried and prepared in time, California farmers are expected to plant slightly more rice this spring.
There were more eggs on the market nationwide last year, though a report issued yesterday (Monday) says production dropped in one key state: California. The report says the number of chickens laying eggs and the overall egg supply rose 1 percent nationally, but that California numbers dropped. The Golden State saw a 5 percent drop in egg production. Ranches in the state sold more than 5 billion eggs last year, ranking fifth in the nation.
Only a couple of sugar refineries remain in California, and that puts something of a lid on the state's sugar-beet acreage. Sugar prices to farmers have risen, giving them incentive to plant more. But there's a lack of refinery space for any added volume. Growers have contracts with refineries in Fresno and Imperial counties. Farmers will begin harvesting this year's sugar-beet crop in about a month, and start planting next year's crop at about the same time.Top