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» June 16, 2010 «
California-grown plums are beginning to arrive at retail outlets this week, after cool weather slowed development of the crop. Crews have now started harvest, but observers say the volume remains far behind last year at this time. Fruit quality is said to be good, but plums prefer warmer weather and farmers say they believe the crop may turn out to be lighter than average. In addition, some orchards suffered hail damage. California farmers produce 95 percent of the plums grown in the U.S. ?
Melon growers in the Central Valley say their crop appears to be maturing about two weeks later than usual. Cooler-than-average temperatures have not provided the heat units for the crop to grow. However, Imperial County farmers say they will continue to harvest cantaloupes and watermelons until next month, when the Central Valley crop matures. Central Valley farmers are still planting late-season melons for autumn harvest. California melon production usually continues until December.
Rice farmers have finished planting their crops. Growers say they finished two to three weeks later than average. The cool, rainy spring kept fields too wet to till, which delayed the start of planting. Farmers say they're concerned the weather could produce more weeds this summer. Later-than-usual rice planting could also cause problems in the fall. Some of the crop won't mature until October or November, and could suffer damage if autumn rains begin early.
Dairy farmers continue to struggle financially because of low milk prices, and analysts say that struggle will continue even though on-farm milk prices will rise next month. The state Department of Food and Agriculture set the Class 1 milk price at an overall average of about $1.49 a gallon, up about 13 cents from the current price. The increase should allow farmers to begin selling some milk at a profit, though continue to lose money on the rest. The state regulates on-farm milk prices but does not control retail prices.Top