Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityDairy farmers recovery from July heat related losses
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» September 12, 2006 «
There's the prospect of federal disaster aid, and milk prices are rising, but California dairy farmers say they still have a long way to go to recover from losses caused by the severe July heat wave. Federal agencies plan to make low-interest emergency loans available to farmers. The state agriculture department said milk prices paid to dairy farmers will rise eight cents a gallon next month. But average milk prices remain below production costs, because of rising fuel and feed bills.
Reports indicate an uneven crop of wild rice from California fields. More acres of wild rice were planted this year, and farmers in the state's mountain regions report good yields. But some growers in the Sacramento Valley say germination was uneven. One farmer reportedly abandoned a field where little wild rice developed. Farmers continue to harvest the crop. Because of weather this year, the wild-rice harvest will be extended through mid-October.
Up-and-down temperatures have affected the late-summer melon harvest in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Sudden cool temperatures slowed crop development. That forced farmers to scramble to find enough mature melons to satisfy their contracts with retailers or wholesalers. Consumers who frequent farmers' markets may find fewer melons available. Predicted warmer temperatures this week may provide enough heat to increase melon production.
The number of California horses infected with West Nile virus remains significantly lower than a year ago. Marin County reported its first equine West Nile virus case of the year during the past week. The horse died, bringing the total equine deaths this year to 19. But there had been 200 horse deaths last year at this time. Equine West Nile virus cases have been reported in 15 counties this year, compared to 43 a year ago.Top