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» November 30, 2007 «
Continued improvement in pest management and introduction of new, "softer" materials contributed to a drop in overall pesticide use on California farms. The state Department of Pesticide Regulation reported yesterday (Thursday) that on-farm pesticide applications declined by 10 million pounds in 2006, compared to the previous year. The department said it has streamlined approval of new-generation materials that offer farmers more alternatives for pest control.
Rangeland grasses that geminated after October rains have begun to show signs of stress, because of the return of dry weather since then. California's pastures and rangelands have been in poor condition because of dry weather, and ranchers say forage could be at even more of a premium if additional rain doesn't fall soon. Water for cattle and sheep is also becoming scare, causing some ranchers to truck water to their animals.
There won't be as much grapefruit on the market during the coming season, although California farmers are running counter to the national trend by expecting larger harvests. A government report predicts California's grapefruit crop will be 13 percent larger than last year. But production is expected to drop in the main grapefruit-growing states, Florida and Texas, leading to a 5 percent decline nationwide. Analysts say that could raise grapefruit prices in both the fresh and processing markets.
Despite a sharp drop in prices during October, analysts say most California egg farmers should still be able to sell at a profit. That will help them reduce debts that rose when prices were low last year. Production from California egg farms increased by 15 million in October. A government report says the average price farmers earned for eggs dropped 15 cents a dozen, to 84 cents.Top