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» October 22, 2008 «
Winegrape growers are earning higher prices for their grapes this year--and in some cases twice as much as last year. However, the crop is light and the production costs growers pay have also increased. Growers with an average size crop will do well, but those with below average yields may not. With supply and demand becoming more equal, there is optimism the farmers will be able to earn profitable prices in the future and vineyard acreage will stabilize.
Cotton production in California will be about 42 percent less than last year, according to a federal government report. Planted acreage has declined as farmers opted to plant crops offering a better return and then abandoned some fields due to lack of water. Many farmers are running their harvesting machines over the fields one time this year instead of twice because of high fuel costs. That also reduces production. Harvest is expected to end early next month.
California rice growers are winding down their harvest. The bulk of the crop is in, but farmers with later varieties will be harvesting for another couple weeks. The California Rice Commission says farmers are reporting about average yields. That means some have above average and some below. Farmers say the quality of the grain is very good. Weather has been reported as good during most of the growing season. Planted acreage is about the same as last year.
Demand for fresh peppers is increasing, especially for colored peppers. As a result, California farmers are planting more acreage in peppers. Green peppers are easy to grow, but colored varieties are more sensitive to insect pests. As a result, many of them are grown in a protected environment. Colored pepper seed can be two or three times more expensive as green pepper seed. However, as consumer demand for colored peppers grows, more farmers are planting them.Top