Food & Farm News
» July 28, 2005 «
Central Valley farmers are scheduling their workers earlier in the day during this hot weather. Growers caution their workers to take breaks and to watch each other for signs of heat-related illness. Most farmers suggest workers pay attention to activities after work that could also dehydrate the body. Farmers say the current hot weather isn't unusual for this time of year. However, this year the heat developed suddenly, going from highs in the 80s in June to 100-plus in July.
Date trees love hot weather and are thriving as temperatures surpass 110 degrees in the Southern California desert. Farmers are "bagging" the fruit now, which is done to protect the dates from rain, insects and birds. The area often gets monsoon rain in August and September and the bags protect the dates from fungal diseases as well as from birds that love the fruit. Growers say they have a good crop that will mature during the hot weather that is expected to continue for several more weeks.
California dairy farms produced five percent more milk this June than in June last year. However, production was three percent lower than in May 2005. That was before the hot weather hit; as a result, production figures for July are expected to be still lower. Monthly milk per cow averaged a little over 210 gallons in June. That's about seven and a half gallons less than May. California is the number one milk producing state in the nation.
Coachella Valley voters have approved a property tax assessment for pest control. It adds nearly $4 million to the local budget for fighting red imported fire ants and mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus. There are 21 other agencies statewide in the process of planning a vote for similar funding. State funding to fight the red imported fire ant was a victim of budget cuts. However, local districts such as Orange County Vector Control have voter approved funding and are reporting success in controlling the insect.
On the Calendar:
"Days of Swine and Roses" is the theme, as the Amador County Fair opens today (Thursday) in Plymouth.