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» May 11, 2006 «
Despite cold, rainy weather during bloom, California's almond trees have set a strong crop. An initial government estimate of the almond crop, released yesterday (Wednesday), predicts that production could reach just more than 1 billion pounds. If realized, the crop would be the third largest in history and surpass last year's almond production by 11 percent. Observers say occasional breaks in the bloomtime rain appear to have been long enough to allow bees to pollinate almond trees.
They've been working 16-hour days to make up for lost time, and cotton farmers report progress in planting this year's crop. The planting season started late because of spring rains. But planting weather since mid-April has been nearly ideal in the San Joaquin Valley. Crop statisticians reported this week that nearly 80 percent of the state's cotton crop has been planted ... still behind a typical schedule. Farmers say cotton plants emerge from the ground three days after planting.
For the first time this year, dairy farmers won't see farm milk prices drop. State officials say on-farm milk prices will remain about the same come June 1st. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says the average on-farm price for milk will remain $1.07 a gallon. Farmers have seen the price they earn for milk drop by about 18 cents a gallon since the start of the year. The state sets farm milk prices but does not regulate retail prices.
Hungry Aleutian geese ate much of the grass that would have sustained dairy cows and beef cattle in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. One rancher reports that the migrating geese ate up to half of the grass growing in some of the area's pastures. That forced farmers to feed more hay to their animals, at a time when hay prices are high. As many as 60,000 geese descended on the Northwest California coast this winter, before moving northward this spring.Top