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» October 28, 2005 «
Observers say this may turn out to be the quickest California cotton harvest ever. Spring and summer weather slowed development of cotton fields, and farmers have been racing to pick their cotton before fall rains can damage their crop. About 80 percent of the cotton in the San Joaquin Valley has been picked now. Farmers say per-acre cotton yields have been about average, after two successive seasons of near-record production.
Crews are working late in Central Valley vineyards, to complete the grape harvest. Some farmers who grow winegrape varieties such as French colombard have crews picking into the night, in order to harvest the grapes before autumn rains. Raisin farmers have about 20 percent of their crop still on the ground for drying. Others have made contracts with dehydrators to dry their Thompson seedless grapes that are still being picked. It–s too late to hope for the sun to dry those grapes.
In an effort to create more stability for raisin growers and packers, representatives of both groups have settled on a three-year agreement for raisin prices. The Raisin Bargaining Association, which negotiates on behalf of farmers, announced yesterday (Thursday) that it has reached agreement with 13 raisin packers. Under the agreement, prices paid to raisin farmers will vary depending on the grade of the fruit and tonnage produced. This year the minimum will be about 60 cents per pound.
Favorable weather in the wake of Hurricane Wilma has brought cautious optimism to Florida vegetable fields. The head of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association says West Coast consumers may see less impact than first feared, in the availability of fresh produce this winter. Cool, dry weather following Wilma has helped tomato, pepper and cucumber plants recover from storm damage. The hurricane hit at a time when all vegetable-producing regions of Florida were vulnerable.Top