Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityWeekend storm and its impact on the almond blossom
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» February 26, 2008 «
The prospect of dry, warming weather this week encourages Central Valley almond farmers. They say orchards weathered blustery weekend storms with little apparent damage. February rains can be troublesome for the state's top tree crop, because wet weather discourages bees from pollinating almond blossoms. But a late bloom this season meant few orchards were vulnerable to the weekend rain. Observers say the dry spell should bring on the almond bloom and provide good pollination weather.
Rain provided a free irrigation for many Southern California farmers this past weekend. Farmers with irrigation contracts through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California face 30-percent supply cuts this year. Storms on Friday and Sunday allowed farmers to skip an irrigation session. Under their contracts, they can "bank" that unused water for irrigation later in the year.
Storms in the Colorado River Basin have left snowfall at above-average depths this winter. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says it expects runoff to the Colorado River to be about 20 percent higher than average. In addition, frequent rain in southern Nevada has reduced water demand for irrigation and urban use. The Colorado River is a key source of water for Southern California farms and cities.
By resisting damage from a fungal disease, newly developed cotton plants allow farmers to produce more of a premium variety used for clothing, towels and sheets. Four new types of pima cotton will be released to cotton breeders and researchers this year. The disease-resistant varieties were developed by specialists with the University of California and a government research unit in the San Joaquin Valley.Top