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» May 4, 2006 «
This will be the third straight year of below-average production from California's peach, nectarine and plum orchards. The California Tree Fruit Agreement predicts a combined crop of fewer than 50 million boxes ... its lowest preseason estimate in many years. Even so, the promotional group says orchards not hit hard by spring rain or hail will produce abundant crops. The spring weather also delayed ripening of peaches, nectarines and plums, which could create supply gaps at times this summer.
The first California-grown cherries of the new season have been harvested and shipped to customers in Japan. The California Cherry Advisory Board says the new harvest began in Kern County, with 106 boxes of Brooks-variety cherries that have been shipped to Japan by air. It will probably be next month before large supplies show up in domestic retail stores. Rains during bloom delayed and lessened the state's cherry crop.
Trying to play "catch up" after the rainy spring, California rice farmers have been working long days to prepare fields for planting. Soon, demand will escalate for the pilots who drop rice seeds onto fields. A spokesman for the Farmers Rice Cooperative says growers in Merced County have planted some rice. Farmers in Glenn and Sutter counties will probably begin running water onto their fields early next week in preparation for planting.
California turkey ranchers sold fewer birds but earned higher average prices last year, according to a new government report. As a result, the on-farm value of the state's turkey production rose 3 percent last year, to nearly $175 million. California ranked seventh in the nation in turkey production. The state's farmers raised nearly 15 million birds. Most California-grown turkeys are raised in the Central Valley.Top