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» February 26, 2007 «
Below-normal rainfall so far this winter translates into likely cuts in water supplies for customers of the federal Central Valley Project. The state's largest supplier of irrigation water announced (Friday) that its farm customers could see supplies as low as 35 percent of contract amounts. The CVP said storage in its reservoirs remains near average and that recent and expected storms should improve the outlook.
Anticipated robust demand for dairy products portends higher prices for milk ... and that's welcome news to California dairy farmers. They've been in a financial squeeze because of low milk prices at the same time as production costs have soared. For example, prices that farmers pay for corn and other feed have risen sharply. Government analysts predict rising on-farm milk prices this year, in part because of consumer demand for cheese, butter and other dairy products.
Fire and frost have tested Ventura County farmers during the past three months, but they report signs that some damaged trees may recover. New shoots appear on avocado and lemon trees affected by a wildfire last December. And lemon trees hurt by frost in January also show signs of new growth. Despite the optimistic signs, farmers say the recovering lemon trees won't produce fruit this year and will yield lower than average crops for the next several seasons.
The season's first supplies of asparagus from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have shown up at the San Francisco produce terminal. The California Asparagus Commission says the delta harvest will accelerate during the coming week. Muddy fields from recent rain may slow the start of harvest in some fields. Mexican asparagus has dominated most U.S. markets during the winter, but the California crop will replace it as Mexico's season ends.Top