Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» October 21, 2009 «
Prospects for a wet winter look stronger as several long range weather forecasts predict it. However, state water watchers remain cautious, as early storms in previous years preceded both dry and wet winters. With the October 13 storm, the northern Sierra accumulated 9 percent of the yearly average precipitation. The weather service climate prediction center now forecasts wet weather for the November through January period. Rain soaked into the ground which could boost runoff next spring if a good snowpack develops.
With harvest now ended, olive farmers say that weather at bloom time caused more losses than expected. The Olive Growers Council says farmers produced about 25,000 tons of olives less than half of earlier estimates. This marks the third crop failure in four years. Growers fear that bankers will be reluctant to lend operating money because of two back to back short crops. Yield losses hit table olives especially hard, though olives grown for oil were also affected.
Cattle grazing on rangeland benefits native grasses and helps land recover from fire. That is the finding of a 14 year study by agricultural research scientists in California and Oregon. Controlled burns removed dangerous invasive weeds like cheatgrass. When land was grazed after vegetation recovered from fire, cheatgrass did not become a problem. Where no grazing took place, cheatgrass thrived, leaving those areas even more vulnerable to future fires.
Less than five percent of American farms saw improvement in income this year, according to a bank survey. Rabobank says that compares to last year at this time when one in four farms saw better year over year income. Farmers are concerned about future income improvement as they expect the economy to worsen. They mention higher input costs as the main economic challenge facing farmers and ranchers. Farmers either plan to maintain employee levels or reduce employees in the next year.Top