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» May 24, 2006 «
Farmers in another region that has often been dry in recent years will receive 100 percent of contract water supplies this season. Wet conditions in the Klamath Basin allow federal water managers to distribute full supplies to farmers, and to provide above-average flows in the Klamath River for environmental purposes. Earlier this spring, the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project also announced that they would be able to provide full water supplies.
They prefer to have their fields completely planted by June 1st, but sweet potato farmers in the Central Valley may not meet that goal this year. Last weekend's rain added another delay to a season that had already gotten a late start. Sweet-potato farmers say the most recent rain may also stimulate weed growth in their fields. But California farmers will probably be able to plant the same amount of land in sweet potatoes as they did a year ago.
After a slow start, vineyards in the Central Valley appear to be catching up to a more-normal schedule. Vineyards bloomed about two weeks later than usual, as a result of the cool, wet weather in early spring. But warmer temperatures in recent weeks have speeded development of the grape crop. Farmers are treating their vineyards to ward off fungal diseases after the weekend rain, but they now hope to harvest about the same time as last year.
Mendocino County has become the third California region to establish a local commission to promote the region's wines. Grape growers and vintners voted to assess themselves to establish the commission. The Mendocino effort joins existing commissions that promote wines from Lake County and the Lodi-Woodbridge region. A fourth regional commission could be formed in Sonoma County, where grape growers are now voting in a mail referendum.Top