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» June 10, 2009 «
Processing tomato production is expected to increase this year even though water restrictions reduced plantings in some areas. A federal government report predicts 308,000 acres will be planted in the state in 2009. Fresno County leads with 102,000 acres, a 9,000-acre drop because of a lack of irrigation water. Rain fell on some Northern California fields as tomato plants were blooming. That could affect production. Processing tomatoes are used for ketchup, soups and other products.
Walnut farmers report increased demand and are earning better prices for their 2008 crop. Spurred by a lack of available credit, the market crashed just as walnut harvest started last fall. Recently, however, sales have improved. Farmers say this year's crop is looking good, but it might not be quite as large as last year's record. Cooler weather helps walnuts grow and reduces pest pressures. However, farmers know it's a long time until harvest next fall.
Table olive growers are reporting their crop, which looked good in early spring, now isn't looking as promising. Hot weather at the time of bloom may be the cause of tiny olives, which are now falling off the trees. Farm advisors say the crop looks worse in Tulare County, the state's leading olive producer. Heat wasn't quite as intense in Tehama and Glenn counties, and farm advisors say they may yet have a moderate crop this year. California produces nearly all of the nation's commercial table olives.
A second Mediterranean fruit fly quarantine zone has been established in San Diego, this one in the Mira Mesa region. Thus far, 27 wild Medflies and 14 larvae have been detected there. El Cajon is the site of the first quarantine zone. Eradication work includes releasing sterile Medflies, stripping of ripe fruit from trees and ground spraying. More than 260 different fruits and vegetables are susceptible to Medfly damage. Left unchecked, the pest could cause more than $1 billion in damage to California agriculture.Top