Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityRevised almond tree damage estimates from the January windstorms
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» January 24, 2008 «
Rising prices likely won't offset water worries, so observers expect California cotton acreage to drop. The Calcot cooperative says farmers now earn 30 cents a pound more for cotton than they did a year ago. But San Joaquin Valley farmers, bracing for sharp cuts in water supplies, will cultivate less land or switch to other crops. A Calcot spokesman estimates farmers will plant 320,000 acres of cotton, down 30 percent from last year.
Drought in Australia has affected prices for California wool. The lengthy Australian drought has cut wool production there, so Chinese textile manufacturers have looked elsewhere for supplies. California growers who sold wool for about 60 cents a pound last year have seen prices rise to around $1.50 now. The California Wool Growers Association says prices have risen to the point that some farmers are now able to sell wool at a profit.
In the three weeks since fierce windstorms tore through much of California, almond farmers have found more trees that apparently fell victim to the winds. A spokesman for the Blue Diamond cooperative says damage estimates have risen, particularly in the northern Sacramento Valley. About 10 percent of the almond trees in that region appear to have been lost. Though severe for individual farmers, the tree losses may not have much impact on overall almond supplies.
Americans have more nut products to choose among this year, as a result of a 20-percent jump in the nation's tree-nut production during 2007. A preliminary report issued yesterday (Wednesday) by the U.S. Agriculture Department noted sharp increases in California almond and pistachio crops, plus a recovery in pecan production in the Southeast. But the California walnut harvest dropped 8 percent, and the U.S. hazelnut and macadamia crops also were down.Top