Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityIrrigation water availability in the western San Joaquin Valley
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» June 19, 2007 «
An immediate crisis appears to have eased, but farmers in the western San Joaquin Valley say they'll continue to monitor water supplies day by day. The federal Central Valley Project, which sells water to farms in the region, started to increase pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta this weekend. The State Water Project also resumed pumping. Even with the resumption, dry weather and other factors limit farmers to half of contract water deliveries from the CVP.
The peak of strawberry harvest in the Central Coast region will continue for another month. Farmers in the Salinas-Watsonville area say quality of their berries has been excellent. The cold weather at the start of the year helped the roots of strawberry plants develop, resulting in heavier production along the Central Coast. But that same cold weather hurt production in Southern California, so marketers aren't sure whether the state can set another strawberry production record this year.
It got off to a slow start because of the January freeze, but farmers say the Southern California sweet corn harvest offers top quality. The sweet corn now in retail stores comes from farms in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. Observers report strong demand for sweet corn, which has bolstered on-farm prices. Farms in the desert valleys will continue to produce sweet corn until July, when growers in other regions will begin harvest.
A detailed study of pepper irrigation shows that farmers may be able both to save water and increase yields. Using a sophisticated weather-monitoring system, researchers irrigated peppers at a site near Fresno. They found that drip irrigation allowed farmers to reduce water use by as much as 10 percent … while yields from the pepper fields rose as much as 40 percent. The researchers described their methods to farmers at a Cooperative Extension field day.Top