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» May 1, 2006 «
Fire ants are being discovered in northern sections of Orange County. After near eradication a few years ago, the ants are returning from neighboring counties. State funding for the fight was withdrawn in 2003, and although Orange County voters approved an assessment to continue the battle neighboring counties did not. Vector control officials say they can control the ants, but without help from outside the county eradication is not possible.
California's egg production value dropped to its lowest level since 1962 and production was at its lowest level since 1958. That's according to numbers complied by the federal government for the 2005 production year. California farmers produced 5.1 billion eggs with a value of $182 million. That marks a 5% production drop and a 37% drop in value. As a result, some farmers are considering getting out of the egg producing business.
Hay production in California won't meet demand this year due to damage inflicted by heavy rain. Fields in Yolo, Solano and other counties are yellow instead of green after the plants drowned. In addition, farmers missed at least one cutting because fields were too wet. Farmers must use a rotation crop between plantings of alfalfa, which rules out replanting this year. Resulting shortages will keep hay prices high for those growers who have a crop.
Dry and warmer weather is allowing processing tomato farmers to begin fieldwork and plant. Because of delays, transplants are older than ideal. Some fields in the Sacramento Valley with heavier soil remain too wet for fieldwork. In Fresno County a hailstorm near Firebaugh destroyed 1,500 acres of transplants. Farmers say it may be August before canneries have a steady supply of tomatoes to process. That may create problems for the canneries to handle the volume.Top