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» June 6, 2007 «
With pumping of water curtailed from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, farmers south of the delta have seen prices for available water rise rapidly. Those who don't have enough groundwater available, and who need to irrigate their crops now, can try to buy water on the open market. One farmer paid $510 an acre-foot in an open auction … about five times the going rate before the interruption in delta pumping.
One result of the dry winter has been a drop in the number of insects that typically attack San Joaquin Valley crops. A pest control advisor in Bakersfield says the dry winter led to less vegetation in the hills … and that means less habitat for troublesome insects. Problems from pests and from plant diseases have been light so far this spring, and that's been helpful for crops such carrots, onions and garlic.
Urban development has brought a southward shift in the California date-growing region. The California Date Commission says urban development has ended most date production around Palm Springs, and similar pressure is reducing acreage near Indio. Farmers are moving their date groves to the Coachella Valley and near the Salton Sea. Dates need hot, dry weather and those regions provide the appropriate climate.
Organic milk production in California continues to increase. The California Department of Food and Agriculture started tracking organic milk production in April of last year. New figures for this April show that production of organic milk rose more than 46 percent in a year's time. The largest increase came in non-fat organic milk, which increased more than 63 percent.Top