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» October 3, 2006 «
Scattered light rain and forecasts of more rain later this week create concerns for farmers with crops still in the field. Tomato growers say cool, damp weather slows the ripening process and encourages fungal disease. Winegrape growers say heavier rain forecast for later this week could leave the tender skin of white grapes vulnerable to damage. Raisin grape farmers have more than half of their crop picked up, and are hustling to pick up more prior to mid-week, when rain is predicted.
Most analysts agree it's only a matter of time and some think it could happen as early as next year: California will pass Wisconsin to become the nation's top cheese producer. The California Milk Producers Advisory Board says California's rapid growth in cheese production can also be measured in diversity. In 1995, California cheese producers turned out 70 different varieties. Today, that number has swelled to 250.
Loggers are busy harvesting timber before winter sets in. Trucks are hauling the logs to mills, to build up inventory for winter use when timber can't be cut. Timber harvest occurs only in areas where regulators have approved detailed harvest plans. California's remaining timber mills provide needed wood for housing and other uses. A cut in housing starts has slowed demand, but mill operators want inventory so they can immediately respond to demand increases.
Watermelon harvest is winding down in California, as cooler weather slows ripening. The California-Arizona Watermelon Association says some farmers in the Imperial Valley and Arizona are still producing melons. The season got off to a slow start because of the wet spring weather, but farmers had good production once they were able to enter the market. Watermelons will still be available at retail stores from other states and nations.Top