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» September 4, 2007 «
In vineyards from the North Coast to inland Southern California, farmers say the winegrape harvest is underway and going smoothly, so far. Throughout the state, grower representatives report excellent quality grapes. State forecasters estimate the California winegrape harvest will be 4 percent larger than last year's. Farmers in the Temecula Valley say they're finding grape yields to be slightly above average, but a Sonoma Valley group says yields there will be down a bit.
Saying it's been an "outstanding year" for processing-tomato growers, a government survey indicates the state's crop could total 12 million tons for the first time. Overall, it could be as much as 20 percent larger than last year's. The report says weather throughout the season favored tomato production. But farmers caution that only about half the crop has been harvested, and that untimely rain or other problems could still cut into total production.
The California rice harvest will get fully under way during the coming week. Until recently, farm advisers say, rice fields have benefited from a mild growing season and cool nights. Farmers hope the hot weather of the past week will moderate, because that would help their crop. Observers say the rice looks good, so far. California ranks second in the nation in rice production, with most of the state's crop coming from the Sacramento Valley.
Strong foreign demand for a number of American crops and commodities will boost U.S. farm exports to a record this year, according to a new forecast. The U.S. Agriculture Department says it expects farm exports to reach $79 billion, and to set another record next year, at more than $83 billion. California leads the nation in farm exports, and the USDA predicted record foreign sales of the fruit, vegetable and nut products in which the state specializes.Top