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» May 14, 2008 «
Overseas demand for California farm products has improved, in part because of currency exchange rates that make those products less expensive overseas. But finding enough containers in which to ship farm goods can be a problem. Fewer containers are available, for reasons including a slight slowdown in imports. One of California's largest farm exporters, Sunkist Growers, reports supplies of shipping containers have been tight but that its citrus fruit has moved on schedule.
The wheat harvest has started in the Imperial Valley, and will start in the rest of California by the end of the month. There should be a lot more of it this year. Acreage of the durum-type wheat used to make pasta has doubled compared to a year ago, and the state's plantings of winter wheat rose 20 percent. A government report issued yesterday (Tuesday) says strong prices have encouraged wheat plantings everywhere, and that should lead to record global wheat production.
Popular new varieties have helped California table grape farmers keep demand strong. The California Grape and Tree Fruit League says new varieties such as Autumn King and Sweet Scarlet allow grape growers to extend their markets. Table grapes rank among California's top farm exports and farmers now sell nearly 40 percent of their grapes in foreign markets. The top export customers include Canada, China and Mexico.
Birth control for tadpole shrimp may prove effective in protecting rice crops. The tadpole shrimp breeds rapidly in rice fields and damages seedlings. A biology professor at California State University, Fresno, has been working for several years to develop a natural means of controlling the shrimp. By feeding a hormone-based pellet to tadpole shrimp, he has been able to reduce their reproduction. The studies could lead to an organic means of controlling tadpole shrimp.Top