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» September 24, 2007 «
Signs point to rising milk production, and analysts say that could bring some reduction in prices for milk and dairy products. But continued strong demand, especially from abroad, will likely keep prices from falling very much. A government report says milk production rose this summer … with California dairies leading the way … at a time when production usually eases. Domestic demand for dairy products remains strong and export demand for cheese has also been high.
A fast-moving grape harvest has meant busy times for farmers, harvest crews … and thieves. Sheriff's detectives in California's grape-growing regions report thefts of items such as scales, grape harvesting bags and the grapes themselves. But metal remains the main target. Thieves have been taking steel grape supports out of Central Valley vineyards. Thefts of copper wire from irrigation pumps and other equipment have been a severe problem on many farms.
A change in artichoke planting patterns could make artichokes available on a more consistent basis all year. At this time of year, perennial artichoke plants show increased production. But a higher proportion of artichoke acreage is now devoted to annual plants. Annuals planted in Southern California will produce artichokes in the winter, while new annuals grow in Central California for spring and summer harvest.
As kiwifruit farmers prepare for harvest, they're hoping the fruit continues to grow. Farmers say the weather at bloom time seemed fine, and no prolonged hot spells punished their crops. But they wish they had more larger-sized fruit to sell. Observers say the kiwifruit crop may be about 14 percent smaller than last year's. Harvest should begin next week. California farms produce nearly all domestically grown kiwifruit.Top