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» January 11, 2008 «
A boom in farm-equipment sales has manufacturers scrambling to keep up with demand in the Midwest. In California, the Far West Equipment Dealers Association says dealers have seen steady sales but not the sharp spike in demand seen elsewhere. A national trade group reported yesterday (Thursday) that sales of the most powerful tractors rose more than 20 percent last year. Manufacturers say improved prices for a number of Midwestern grain crops have boosted equipment demand.
As the one-year anniversary of a damaging freeze approaches, California orange growers say production has bounced back strongly. The California Citrus Growers Association says the weather has been favorable and that farmers worked hard to protect their trees during the 2007 cold wave, when five nights of freezing weather ruined 40 percent of the state's navel oranges. The association says farmers expect to ship 86 million cartons of navel oranges this season.
Until the grass grows a little taller, Northern California sheep producers say they will need to continue feeding hay to their animals. But sheep ranchers say they're happy with this month's rain, which has stimulated grass growth on pastures. Farmers have seen higher prices for lamb, but say rising costs for feed have offset some of that improvement. California ranks second in the nation in production of sheep and lambs.
Sales of organic milk in California continue to increase. The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports sales increases of almost 28 percent last November, compared to the same month a year earlier. Sales of organic whole milk jumped 43 percent during the month. The department has documented increases in organic milk sales since it began tracking the market about two years ago.Top