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» January 2, 2007 «
California beef ranchers produced seven percent more meat in November than they did in October and a year ago, according to U.S. government figures. Ranchers are optimistic that 2007 will be another good year. Foreign governments are easing restrictions on U.S. beef imports, which should translate into increased demand. One negative in the equation is the increased price for feed corn. But, ranchers are optimistic their prices will remain strong.
Agricultural researchers are reflecting at holiday time how their work in the past has benefited consumers now. The holiday turkey that graces millions of tables between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day was developed in the 1930s. The Beltsville Small White has a higher percentage of breast meat. Another innovation is the smaller poinsettia plants. In the wild in Mexico they grow to be eight feet tall, but scientists found a way to produce the more dainty plants used in homes that are only 18 inches in height.
High winds last week, especially along the coastline, did some damage to the avocado and citrus crops. However, agricultural commissioners say it will be some time before any damage total is known. The high winds caused scarring on citrus, but some areas escaped the winds. Farmers in Santa Barbara County estimate there are about 2 and a half million pounds of avocados on the ground, most too small to market. While those growers have large losses, it won't affect the overall market supply. Flowers being grown outside may also have been damaged by wind.
Christmas tree growers report sales were as good or better than last year. However, the California Christmas Tree Association says it will be April before final numbers are available. Growers had one rainy weekend in the north and Santa Ana winds in the south, which slowed sales briefly. But consumers returned when weather improved. For information about where to take trees to be recycled, visit the association web site at www.cachristmas.com or phone 1-800-253-2687.Top