Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityHow rain has affected fruit crops in the Suisun Valley
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» April 4, 2006 «
An onslaught of early spring rain brings both short-term and long-term concerns for tree-fruit growers in a valley east of the Bay Area. Apricot farmers in the Suisun Valley fear they won't have a crop this year. Mild winter temperatures reduced the bloom, and rains damaged the blossoms that did develop. Now, farmers worry that the extended rain may be damaging the roots of their trees. Observers say the problems appear more severe there than in other apricot-growing areas.
At least part of this summer's tomato harvest will likely be disrupted by the wet spring. Some farmers would typically have finished planting their early season tomatoes by now ... but haven't even started yet. Only a few growers in the southern San Joaquin Valley have been able to plant the processing-variety tomatoes that will be sold to canneries. Those canneries prefer the tomatoes to mature at staggered dates, but most farmers have not been able to plant varieties that mature earliest.
Although rain has created plenty of green grass on hillside pastures, for some ranchers the weather has become too much of a good thing. In Northern California, the record number of rainy days and lack of sunshine have slowed weight gains among cattle. A government report issued yesterday (Monday) blamed the amount of moisture in the grass and its low nutrient content. But, in other parts of the state, the rain has been more beneficial to foothill pastures.
Sharp reductions in the number of glassy-winged sharpshooters encourage crews who have been fighting the insect in Kern and Tulare counties. Agricultural officials have worked for several years to suppress the pest and prevent it from migrating northward. The sharpshooter carries a plant disease that kills vineyards and other crops. Crews continue to treat urban and agricultural land where the pests have been found ... and say they're trapping fewer sharpshooters each year.Top