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» March 16, 2009 «
Freezing temperatures have damaged almond nutlets in the San Joaquin Valley. Temperatures dropped as low as 26 degrees when frost was not in the forecast. The frost was scattered so that some orchards were total losses, while others had little or no damage. Temperatures did not get as cold in the Sacramento Valley, where no damage has been reported. Inspection of orchards is continuing, and as of now the loss is estimated at about 50-million pounds of almonds.
California winter wheat farmers are reporting a variation in crop progress. Sacramento Valley growers say rains have provided needed moisture, but they are concerned about possible fungal disease developing. San Joaquin Valley farmers say the crop looks good, but frost may have damaged some wheat where cold temperatures persisted. Dryland growers in the southern San Joaquin Valley and in Riverside and San Bernardino counties say they need more rain within two weeks to bring the crop to maturity.
A Sacramento Valley family farming company is developing gluten-free products for people who suffer from celiac disease. It affects about 1 in 250 people in the U.S. Sufferers asked Lundberg Family Farms to consider developing more rice-based convenience products that would allow them to eat more "normal" foods. People with the disease cannot digest gluten, and rice is gluten free. The U.S. market for gluten-free products is expected to surge from $1.6 billion in sales in 2008 to $2.6 billion by 2012, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.
U.S. and Australian researchers are working on a more environmentally friendly way to control two species of insects that damage a variety of fruit and nut crops. They've developed a synthetic pheromone that shows promise in attracting female bugs. The insects cause damage to mangoes, pecans and avocados—all of which are grown in California. The tiny insects produce rotten spots that make the fruit unmarketable. Reducing insect damage could lower prices for consumers.Top