Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» February 20, 2007 «
At a time when proper nutrition for sheep is essential, it's become harder for ranchers to find grazing areas for their animals. Sheep usually graze in alfalfa fields now. But the January freeze and the prevailing dry weather have cut the availability of forage. The California Wool Growers Association says many ranchers have had to buy hay to supplement their animals' diets. Because it's lambing season, ranchers monitor their herds with particular care.
Winter weather brings hopes of a heavy bloom in California apple orchards. Farmers say their trees escaped damage in the freeze, and that the chill hours that built up during the cold weather should encourage a strong bloom. Now, though, they worry that the lack of rain in the early part of the winter could set the stage for big storms in March, when apple trees will be in bloom. That would likely reduce the crop. California apple production comes mainly from the San Joaquin Valley.
A powerful storm that thrashed Northeastern and Midwestern states on Valentine's Day wreaked havoc with flower deliveries on a peak day for retail florists. The California Cut Flower Commission says California-grown flowers destined for those states made it there in time for the holiday, despite the bad weather. Most had been shipped enough in advance that farmers here did not lose any business. Some retailers, though, may not have been able to deliver all the flowers to their customers.
A small, dark cloud has developed over a promising new Central Valley crop. As farmers have expanded plantings of blueberries, an insect known as citrus thrips has expanded its attacks on blueberry fields. The pest can greatly reduce blueberry production, because they feed on areas of the bushes where the fruit develops. University of California farm advisors are trying new methods to control the thrips, such as using high-pressure water on the bushes.Top