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» October 31, 2007 «
With warm Santa Ana winds predicted to return to Southern California this week, farmers are working as quickly as possible to repair irrigation systems damaged by wildfires. That's especially important in avocado orchards where trees were damaged by fire but may still be salvageable. A California Avocado Commission spokesman says while crews work to repair systems, irrigation companies must bring equipment from out of state because of tight supplies in Southern California.
Early reports of monetary damages to farms, ranches and nurseries have begun to come in. The California Avocado Commission says $35 million worth of avocados were lost to last week's fires and windstorms. The San Diego County agricultural commissioner's office reports $30 million dollars in losses from one wildfire, to ornamental nursery plants, cut flowers, avocados and other crops. It will issue separate loss reports on other fires.
The coyote remains the chief predator of sheep and lambs on West Coast ranches. The government surveys losses every five years. Its newly released survey shows that coyotes caused more than half the sheep deaths and nearly three-quarters of lamb deaths linked to predators in California, Oregon and Washington. Dogs and mountain lions ranked second and third in attacks on sheep and lambs.
Today (Wednesday) is the day when pumpkins reign supreme. Market analysts say prices for jack-o-lantern pumpkins across the United States have been running below last year's levels. A government report credits improved production in California as one reason. California leads in sales of fresh-market pumpkins and ranks second, behind Illinois, in total pumpkin production. Pumpkin popularity has risen steadily. Acreage planted in pumpkins has tripled since 1982.Top