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» April 23, 2008 «
As more time passes since a weekend cold snap hit California crops, more farmers report signs of damage. Frost damage appears to have affected winegrape vineyards in many parts of the state. Allied Grape Growers says some members report light damage, but others say more than half of their crop may have been lost. Peach and walnut farmers also report damage. Agricultural commissioners say it may be the middle of May before damage can be estimated accurately.
Spring weather has again damaged the California prune crop. The Sutter County agricultural commissioner says freezing temperatures caused losses of more than 25 percent in many orchards … and some farmers may have lost their entire crop. Other prune-growing areas also report losses. For most of the past five years, prune growers have seen crops reduced by bad weather. In previous years, hot temperatures during bloom have hurt the crop.
It's planting season in California rice country. Motorists traveling through rice-growing regions may see airplanes flying low over the fields. That's how the rice crop is planted, with seeds being dropped from airplanes into water spread atop the fields. Most California-grown rice comes from the Sacramento Valley, and acreage is expected to expand about 3 percent this spring. Rice farmers like to have their entire crop planted by the end of May.
With warmer temperatures expected later this week, tiny cotton plants should start popping up in Central Valley fields. More than 80 percent of the California cotton crop has been planted, according to a government report. Because of cold temperatures many of the seeds have not germinated yet, but observers say the dry cold shouldn't have much impact on the seeds. Growers reported they plan to plant about 300 thousand acres of cotton in California.Top