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» July 18, 2006 «
California timber growers are working to catch up after a slow start to harvest season due to wet conditions. Regulatory harvest plans may have expired before the woods were dry enough to work. Demand for California lumber isn't quite as strong as last year, but is still good. The weak dollar has made foreign lumber more expensive providing California producers a competitive advantage. The California Grown campaign has also aided Golden State lumber sales.
Wet cool spring weather has spawned a rodent population increase throughout California. Coastal counties report an increased rattlesnake population, which feeds on rodents. In the Central Valley, ranchers have also noted more rodents. Ranchers say foothill coyote populations have increased in response. Farmers and ranchers have their own trapping programs to reduce rodent populations. Ranchers say rodents feed on stored hay meant for cattle.
Carrot producers have developed a number of new value added products that are becoming popular with consumers. A bag of carrot tips which are smaller than baby carrots are being sold in a convenient microwaveable bag. Another popular item is a bag of baby carrots that includes a dip. Shredded carrots and carrots cut like coins are also becoming popular with consumers and fuel demand for the vegetable which farmers are happy to provide.
Federal figures show California cotton farmers planted about 310,000 acres of upland cotton, 28 percent less than last year and the lowest level since 1944. But, they increased Pima acreage by 26 percent to 290,000, a record high amount. Prices for Pima are generally higher, although it is more difficult to grow. Rice acreage is only slightly less than last year, even though growers planted late because of wet weather.Top