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» October 1, 2007 «
Record prices for wheat will encourage California farmers to plant more next year, but observers say it's hard to predict just how much the acreage will rise. Wheat futures prices stand at more than double their levels of a year ago, in part due to poor crops in many other nations. Farmers harvested more than 350,000 acres of wheat in California this year and the combination of high prices and tight water supplies should boost plantings in 2008.
Wine marketers from all around the world have their sights set on the United States … and that poses challenges for California wine producers. A new analysis from the international lender Rabobank says the fastest-growing demand is for wines that sell for $12 a bottle or more. The report says it may be difficult and expensive to expand production in parts of the state where those wines are produced, which could open the door for the importers.
Each time forecasters look at the California prune crop, they see a little less fruit. The latest report reduces the size of the crop by another 5 percent. In all, analysts expect the prune crop to be just half of last year's total. The report blames the reduction on hot weather during bloom and dry conditions that slowed bee pollination. California produces nearly all the domestic crop of prunes, which are marketed as dried plums.
Timber producers are getting their forestland ready for winter. Logs are being sent to mills to be stored for use in winter, when logging is impossible. Crews are placing straw and seeding dirt roads in the forest to retard erosion. Diversions are also being installed so rainwater will gather in flat areas and soak into the ground. Loggers will continue to harvest until early November, but only using gravel forest roads where trucks won't leave ruts.Top