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Farmers Concerned About Early Rain

Aired 10/5/11 on KPBS News.

Farmers throughout California are keeping anxious eyes on the skies this week, as a strong storm moves through the state. They’re concerned the weather may create problems for harvests that have already been delayed.

Farmers throughout California are concerned about this week’s early Fall rain. Unseasonably cool weather this summer has already delayed harvests and many crops are still out in the fields - more than there usually would be at this time of year. Dave Kranz is with the California Farm Bureau Federation. He explained that sometimes crops can ripen and catch up if there’s some warmer weather - but that’s not the case this year.

“We had another relatively mild summer so most of the crops that started behind schedule, stayed behind schedule and are still at least a couple of weeks behind where farmers would typically hope to be at this time of year,” said Kranz.

Kranz also said the rain can also make the crops vulnerable to fungal disease, if there is a rapid warm-up after the rain. He said farmers are hoping for cool and breezy days to help things dry out.

Harvests that are still taking place around the state include wine grapes, cotton, raisins, walnuts and almonds.

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