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» February 18, 2005 «
Continued demand for cheese, fluid milk and other dairy products drove California milk production to another record during 2004. The U.S. Agriculture Department reported yesterday (Thursday) that the state's milk production increased about 3 percent. Both the number of cows and the amount of milk produced per animal increased. Overall, the Golden State's dairy cows produced more than 4.2 billion gallons of milk. California leads the nation in milk production.
With more rain expected in the Imperial Valley this weekend, farmers say they may continue to experience harvest slowdowns. Recent rains interrupted harvest of winter vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce. Consumers will find ample supplies at retail, as vegetables will come from other sources. For Imperial Valley melon growers, above-average rainfall has been a benefit, by saving the need to irrigate their young plants.
The season has started slowly, but the California Strawberry Commission says it anticipates plentiful supplies this year. Farmers are about 2 million pounds behind last year's record pace for strawberry production. Rainy Southern California weather has caused periodic damage and delays. But the commission notes that overall strawberry acreage has increased. And long-time farmers say early rains often spur plants to produce more berries later in the spring.
Wild geese compete with cattle for pastures in Northwestern California, and researchers will look for ways to assure that both species have enough food. Professors from Humboldt State University will study the impact that Aleutian geese have on cattle grazing. Twenty geese can eat as much forage as a cow. Ranchers in the Humboldt Bay Area say pastures often don't provide enough forage to support both the region's 40,000 geese and its livestock.
On the Calendar:
The annual Citrus Fair begins today (Friday) in Cloverdale, and the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival opens in Indio.