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» May 13, 2008 «
With triple-digit temperatures forecast for much of the Central Valley later this week, farmers are preparing to shield their animals and crops from the season's first hot spell. In many cases, farmers say they'll get ready by making sure their animals, plants and trees have enough water. Nectarine, peach and plum growers say the warm temperatures will encourage their crops to ripen. Walnut farmers say the early heat may help their crops withstand hot weather later in the season.
Early variety peaches should reach retail stores in California and across the nation this week. California farmers have been shipping fruit in heavy volume for about a week. Predicted warm weather in coming days will increase the sugar content of the fruit and observers say that could cause production to increase. The California Tree Fruit Agreement says it expects total peach production to be higher, as more young trees come into maturity.
Favorable growing conditions this spring have resulted in large volumes of sweet onions from the Imperial Valley. Farmers have been harvesting the Imperial sweets for a few weeks. Harvest has slowed somewhat now, as farmers cope with a period of low prices. On the other hand, farmers have been earning higher prices for white onions and say the quality for both white onions and the Imperial sweets has been excellent.
Two-thirds of the California rice crop has now been planted. The annual dropping of rice seed by airplane has captured more attention than usual this year, because of rising crop prices. An outlook report issued yesterday (Monday) by the U.S. Agriculture Department forecasts record farm prices for American rice. The report says global rice production may set a record as well, but that several nations have imposed export restrictions. California ranks second in U.S. rice production.Top