Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityComments from four farmers about how the weather has affected their crops
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» September 8, 2010 «
Mild summer weather around California has affected farmers in different ways. Some say growing conditions for their crops have been ideal, but others report concerns. For example, the cool, wet spring meant a slow start for cotton, hay and other crops. Peppers need more "heat units" for full production, and crops such as prunes could use more heat to raise sugar levels. But a turkey farmer says the summer weather has been ideal for his birds.
Harvest of early winegrape varieties is reaching its end in the San Joaquin Valley. Grapes are among the crops that have been slowed by cooler temperatures this summer. Farmers say crops appear to be lighter, allowing grapes to gain sugar faster when warm weather comes. Along the coast, some farmers trimmed grape leaves to allow the sun to shine directly on grape clusters … and then a sudden spike in temperatures resulted in sunburn on some of the exposed berries.
A pre-harvest estimate of the California walnut crop says farmers could produce record volumes this year. Government forecasters said the state's walnut production could rise 17 percent, to 510-thousand tons. The forecast cites favorable weather throughout the season as benefiting the walnut crop. Farmers agree they have a good-sized crop, but want to wait until after the harvest to see if it meets the estimate.
Farmers say the cooler-than-average summer has been ideal for Christmas trees, helping the trees to grow. The California Christmas Tree Association says weather has helped farmers all year, starting with the wet spring that provided moisture for the trees without irrigation. Farmers prune Christmas trees twice each summer, and that activity was delayed … but the association says the trees will be ready and farms will open at their usual times in November.