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» March 7, 2006 «
Fear of fungus follows rain into Central Valley fields and orchards. Observers say the rain has not, so far, hurt the blossoms beginning to appear on peach, plum and nectarine trees. But farmers have been protecting their orchards against fungal diseases that could be triggered by the wet weather. Lettuce farmers also worry, because their crop could be susceptible to fungal disease as it nears harvest. Most of the nation's head lettuce comes from Fresno County from mid-March until May.
Cooler weather in the Imperial Valley is expected to extend the vegetable harvest season. Picking of head lettuce and other winter vegetables grown in the valley usually ends about mid-March, because the desert weather typically grows too warm for the cool-season vegetables. But forecasts for the region predict lower-than-average temperatures, which slow crop maturity and extend the season. Farmers report increased demand for their lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower.
Temperatures will stay well below average along the Ventura County coast this week, and that will likely slow the region's strawberry and celery production. Rain that reached the area didn't delay the harvest, but the cool weather slowed crop development. The impact at the grocery store may be minor, though. Farmers say there is enough celery and strawberries in the distribution channels to provide consumers with ample supplies until warm weather again increases production.
An expanding crow population bothers farmers and homeowners in San Diego County. The birds enjoy the climate and are reproducing rapidly. They raid farm fields, urban gardens and fruit trees. A San Diego County Farm Bureau spokesman says the crows seem to enjoy feeding on every crop raised in the area. Thus far there is no overall plan on what to do about the problem. Individual farmers use a variety of methods to disrupt the birds.Top