Food & Farm News
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» April 29, 2008 «
Hot weather in Southern California has been worrisome for farmers, who say they hope a cooling trend takes hold this week, as expected. The heat wave put San Diego County farmers in a management quandary about irrigation water. The heat means plants need more irrigation, but farmers have had a 30 percent cutback in water supplies. Farmers must decide how much to use now to nurture their crops, and yet save enough for later in the summer.
Sustained dry weather in March and April hurt wheat grown without irrigation in Southern California. The California Wheat Commission says the "dryland" wheat won't produce grain, so farmers are trying to salvage it for hay. In Northern California, wheat farmers will be checking their fields for frost damage. The spring frost that hit earlier this month came as the grain began to flower. It will be several weeks before any damage to wheat becomes visible.
Big changes in the markets for milk and eggs are reflected in annual reports on both commodities. The U.S. Agriculture Department says average milk prices paid to California dairy farmers rose 56 percent last year, and cash receipts from milk hit a record $7.3 billion dollars. The government said the average on-farm price for a dozen eggs rose 53 percent. Dairy farmers and egg producers say the prices help them recover from previous lean years
The trend toward fresh, locally grown foods has spread to California hospitals, and a new study says that has implications for farmers, ranchers and hospital patients. Analysts at the University of California, Davis, studied hospitals that changed their menus to feature fresh foods, grown nearby. Besides opening new markets for farmers and ranchers, the study says the trend may encourage hospital patients to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets.Top