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» May 9, 2007 «
A shorter bloom time appears to have reduced production in California prune orchards, which will translate into a smaller crop of dried plums this year. Many orchards came into bloom as a warm spell hit during March, so fewer prunes were pollinated. The California Dried Plum Board says it expects the crop size to be below average. Farmers say they had a big crop last year, so there should be plenty of dried plums on the market.
A few California navel oranges continue to reach market. The California Citrus Growers Association says farmers have been checking groves for fruit left undamaged by the January freeze. The association says it expects California-grown navels to remain on the market until the end of May. It says lemon supplies from California have been adequate, but that farmers in desert growing regions report a light crop.
California-grown rice has gotten off to a head start this year. Farmers have already planted more than half the rice crop, and say operations are running smoothly. That's a sharp contrast to last year, when many fields remained flooded by spring rain. Farmers prefer to have all their rice planted by the end of May, and the California Rice Commission says it expects farmers to achieve that goal.
It first popped up in a high school greenhouse in Imperial County a few weeks ago, and researchers want to do what they can to keep a plant virus from spreading to California crops. "Tomato yellow leaf curl virus" attacks tomatoes and other crops. Typically, it's spread by insects such as whiteflies. University of California plant experts have developed guidelines to help farmers identify the disease and determine how to treat their crops if necessary.Top