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» August 14, 2006 «
American beef made a successful comeback to the Japanese market last week when consumers bought all 5 metric tons available at a Japanese Costco store in one day. Members of the Japanese media documented sales and interviewed consumers about their purchases. A shipment of 11 tons of California grown beef will arrive later this week for distribution to food service and retail outlets. California producers are optimistic the early strong sales will continue as more beef is sent to Japan.
Federal government inspectors are predicting the lowest olive production in 25 years. They project a 50,000 ton crop, 65 percent less than last year and the lowest amount since 1981. All olive growing regions were heavily impacted by poor spring weather. A warm January caused trees to blossom and February freezes damaged buds. Heavy rains later knocked more buds off trees. Some orchards have no crop, while others have less than average.
Analysts in the cotton business agree with the federal government assessment of this year's crop. That forecast is for a 22 percent decrease in upland cotton production in California and a 42 percent increase in Pima production. But, the analysts caution that the effects of the July heat wave cannot be assessed yet. Damage from the heat to cotton bolls and blooms won't be known for several weeks. But Pima cotton withstands heat better than the Upland variety.
Crude oil inventories at California refineries are 11 percent higher than last year at this time, according to the California Energy Commission. The commission says that is good news in light of the uncertainty caused by the Alaska pipeline problems. Production of both gasoline and diesel fuel were higher, nearly six percent more last week than last year. Farmers should have adequate supplies for harvest operations. The governor has asked the commission to monitor gasoline prices in an effort to prevent price gouging.Top