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» June 21, 2005 «
Rain damage to California's winter wheat crop won't show up for about another week. The California Wheat Commission says farmers have resumed harvest and thus far have not reported any damage. A federal crop estimate issued yesterday (Monday) projects crop yields to be 21 percent lower than last year. Two fungal-caused diseases were more widespread this year because of the wet winter. Farmers who treated their wheat for the diseases report better yields than those who did not.
As summertime power demands heat up, farmers and ranchers are being encouraged to volunteer for a load-reduction program. Participating farmers receive advance notice of power-use peaks, and can plan their operations to reduce electric use while maintaining critical needs. The Independent System Operator says the program conserves electricity when demand peaks. A California Farm Bureau spokeswoman says many growers volunteered for the program last year.
Vanpools will be available to transport Central Coast farmworkers next spring. Santa Barbara County governments approved funding for a demonstration program, which will be patterned after similar programs in the Central Valley. Workers will pay a fee for the service, but it should be competitive with other forms of transportation. The Central Valley program now serves about 800 farmworkers.
Fewer sugar beets will be grown in California this year. A new crop estimate forecasts production from about 49,000 acres. That's 3 percent less than last year. But farmers do report higher yields. Sugar-beet harvest in Imperial County, the state's top production area, will continue until August. California ranks fifth in the nation in sugar beet production, with Midwestern and Plains states taking the lead.Top