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» March 28, 2007 «
Rising corn prices have encouraged more California dairy farmers to grow their own corn this year. The farm group Western United Dairymen says farmers have been struggling to cope with corn costs, which have risen in part because of demand for ethanol production. Corn is an important part of the feed mix for milk cows, so Western United says more dairy farmers will plant corn themselves, to try to shield themselves from additional price increases.
Poultry producers across California will pay an extra $150 million to feed their birds this year, because corn prices have nearly doubled in the past 12 months. The California Poultry Federation made that estimate, noting that corn comprises the major portion of poultry feed. The higher costs eat into profits for poultry producers, who have benefited from strong demand for chicken and turkey.
Detailing significant crop losses from the January freeze, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein pressed her colleagues to maintain farm disaster relief in a spending bill. During a speech on the Senate floor yesterday (Tuesday), Feinstein said the aid would help California farmers recover from the freeze and from a punishing heat wave that hit the state last summer. Feinstein said crop insurance would cover only a portion of the losses that farmers have suffered.
Apricot trees appear to have escaped damage from a light hailstorm that hit some areas around Wesley and Patterson. There and elsewhere, farmers and ranchers generally welcomed the rain that fell in the Central Valley this week. Some areas had as much as an inch of rain but no crops were vulnerable to damage there. Livestock ranchers say the rain will benefit dried-out pastures. Prune and peach growers in the Sacramento Valley protected their trees from moisture-related fungal diseases.Top