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» July 27, 2006 «
Fig growers will start their second harvest in about a week. The California Fig Advisory Board says the intense heat has caused some sunburn to the fruit. However, growers can sell damaged fruit for the dry market or processing so it's not a total loss. The crop looks good, and growers expect to pick excellent quality figs.
Dairy farmers continue to do what they can to cool their cows in the heat. Many farmers say milk production is off 20 percent or more, and are concerned cows may stop producing milk early. Cows normally rotate through milking and dry periods of time. Farmers also aren't certain cows they are impregnating during the heat will be able to stay pregnant. Once nighttime temperatures again cool off again farmers will be able to get a better idea about production losses.
Poultry sector farmers have lost thousands of birds to the heat. Most of the losses were turkeys. Chicken growers have adopted new tunnel like structures, which allow cool air to be circulated in the structures that house the birds. Even though some farmers lost as much as 10 percent of their flocks, consumers won't see higher poultry prices at super markets, because the hot weather only harmed a small portion of total production.
Dry plum trees shut down in hot weather causing the fruit to stop gaining sugar content. This could reduce the tonnage growers' produce. The crop is already developing about two weeks late because of spring weather. The heat won't help advance harvest time, which is estimated to start August 22. The crop is spotty, as some growers have a good size crop while others have none or a very small one, as a result of differing amounts of rain at bloom time.Top