Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» May 15, 2007 «
Southern California cattle producers are selling cattle in record numbers after rainfall this season failed to produce enough grasses to sustain their herds. One auction yard has sold 12,000 head in the past four sales, 10 times more than usual for this time of year. Ranchers face choices of selling animals underweight or paying the high costs of grain and hay to feed them until they reach market weight. The situation isn't as dire in Northern California where there has been more rain.
Raisin growers continue to gradually expand acreage grown on trellis. It allows them to dry the grapes on the vines, and harvest by machine, which decreases hand labor use. The amount grown on trellis increased from just over four percent in 2005 to almost six percent last year. Overall the acreage planted for raisin grapes has dropped by about seven thousand acres from 2005 to 2006. Madera County has the most acreage planted for machine harvest.
Wheat harvest has begun in the Imperial Valley, and growers in Kern County plan to begin in another week. Government forecasts are for a harvest of 630,000 tons in California, a 45 percent increase from last year. Much of the dry land wheat crop has been lost to drought. However, that dry weather did keep fungal diseases out of fields. More wheat was planted this year as farmers were encouraged by the highest wheat prices in a decade.
County agricultural inspectors continue to report new finds of the destructive Japanese dodder. Yolo County has found the invasive plant in three locations and new finds have been reported in Sacramento, Sutter and Yuba counties. The exotic weed sucks nutrients and water from its host plant. State inspectors say they expect to continue to find the pest as they battle to eradicate it. Now that warmer weather has arrived the parasite can expand its territory.Top