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» May 18, 2011 «
Mid-May storms will have farmers of cherries, apricots and other crops checking their orchards for signs of any damage. Harvest of both cherries and apricots has started in the southern San Joaquin Valley, and ripe fruit is most vulnerable to rain damage. Farther north, farmers say they remain hopeful their crops can withstand the rain, especially if it's followed by cool, breezy weather. Storms in the Sacramento Valley also slowed planting of rice and other crops.
Timely rainfall during the growing season has helped dryland wheat to grow and provided adequate moisture for the crop. The state's overall crop of wheat … both irrigated and dryland … should be significantly larger. Crop forecasters say California farmers could grow 36 percent more winter wheat this year than last. The crop of durum-type wheat, which is used for pasta, could rise 38 percent. Harvest of durum wheat could start in Southern California this week.
As pest fighters report progress in one region against a destructive moth, they report finding the pest in a new location. Three European grapevine moths have been found in Nevada County—the first time the pest has been found there. The moth can destroy grape crops and damaged grapes in Napa County a couple of years ago. But numbers of the moths trapped in Napa County have declined sharply, from about 100,000 last year to fewer than 100 this spring.
It will be next month before California apple farmers can truly assess their crops but they know this much: The crop will start late. Harvest usually starts in July, but because of winter and spring weather most farmers expect to start picking apples in August. Cool weather prolonged the apple bloom, and the California Apple Commission reported scattered damage from rain, wind and frost. Despite the problems, farmers say they expect a high-quality crop.Top