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» February 15, 2008 «
Led by rising prices for wheat, hay and corn, the farm value of California's principal field crops jumped 23 percent last year. According to a government report issued yesterday (Thursday), average prices for California-grown wheat went up 43 percent, while hay prices rose 38 percent and corn 31 percent. The higher field-crop prices, combined with expected water shortages and other factors, have affected farmers' planting plans this winter.
Favorable weather has speeded the maturation of asparagus in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Farmers now expect to harvest marketable quantities of the vegetable during the last week of February. The California Asparagus Commission says if the weather holds, the region will produce large quantities of asparagus. Because Easter comes early this year, farmers want to provide asparagus for that market. Most on the market now comes from Mexico or Peru.
Recent warm temperatures in the Imperial Valley have increased vegetable production there. Observers say supplies now exceed demand, meaning that farmers are earning lower prices. A return of cooler weather could slow the vegetable harvests and help farmers bring supplies in line with demand. County officials say a swarm of earthquakes in the Imperial Valley this week had no impact on farming operations.
A field of mustard seed planted yesterday could eventually yield fuel to run buses in Monterey, Salinas and other parts of Monterey County. The local transit authority planted the mustard in a field owned by a vineyard. When the mustard is harvested in May, a local company will process its oil into biodiesel fuel. Monterey-Salinas Transit says the project could make it the first system in the country to produce biodiesel for fleet operations.Top