Food & Farm News
April 1, 2015
Surveyors to search for snow
The depth of the California drought will be emphasized Wednesday, when state surveyors conduct their monthly check on the Sierra Nevada snowpack. Electronic readings show the snowpack statewide hovering near a mere 5 percent of average for this time of year. The state Department of Water Resources says the snowpack stands at its lowest level since the department began the surveys in 1950.
Crop plantings to be cut again
Ongoing water shortages have led to another round of planting cutbacks for California farmers. A “prospective plantings” report issued Tuesday shows that farmers plan a second straight year of acreage reductions. Among the most widely planted California field crops, rice acreage will drop 6 percent, winter wheat will be down 7 percent and corn down 17 percent. Farmers also expect to plant less cotton, hay and barley.
Water shortages worry citrus growers
The promise of blossoming orange trees in the San Joaquin Valley is tempered by water shortages that threaten citrus groves. The federal Central Valley Project will deliver no water to the valley’s citrus-growing region, for a second year in a row. Orange growers report a heavy bloom, and say they worry about their ability to avoid stress on the trees as temperatures warm. One farmer described the water situation as “disheartening.”
Dairies report tight supplies of organic milk
An improving economy has contributed to higher demand for organic milk—and dairy farmers say supplies have tightened nationwide. California farmers and processors say it will take time to boost organic milk supplies. Dry weather has hurt pastures on which organic dairy cows graze, and availability of other organic feed also constrains milk production. Farmers say organic milk supplies have been tightening since last autumn.