California Commodity Ag Digest 4/1/2024

California Commodity
Ag Digest

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) announced that HPAI, known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu, has been found in dairy cattle in Idaho. This now brings the number of affected states to four, adding more evidence the virus may be spreading cow to cow.  Source: Dairy Herd Management

Bird flu, which killed more than 82 million birds in U.S. domestic flocks in the past two years, has appeared in dairy herds in Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, and Texas, said federal officials. The outbreaks, affecting a relatively small number of cattle, are not expected to affect milk supply or prices at the grocery store.  Source:  Successful Farming


Studies in mice suggest health, cognitive benefits from eating grapes. A new set of nutritional studies has found that table grapes offer previously unidentified health benefits, adding potentially marketable dietary value to Kern County’s top-grossing agricultural commodity.  Source:  The Bakersfield Californian


Some of the world's traditional wine regions, from Europe to Southern California, are at risk of almost completely disappearing within decades, researchers found, as the conditions necessary to produce their grapes grow more unfruitful due to climate change. Source:  CBS News

Almonds used to be one of California’s most lucrative cash crops. For much of the last decade, growers, investment firms and everyone in between wanted in on the almond action. But that has changed, and what was once an almond boom has started to fizzle.  Source:  LA Times


In a new study, researchers found that alfalfa and other cattle-feed crops consume 46% of the water that is diverted from the Colorado River, accounting for nearly two-thirds of agricultural water use. The research also shows that agriculture is the dominant water user, accounting for 74% of the water that is diverted.  Source:  LA Times


After years of extreme drought and several very wet flood years, the Sierra snowpack, the source of one-third of the state’s water supply, is shockingly average this year: 104% of normal on Friday. For a state where 11 of the past 17 years have been in severe drought, an ordinary winter is a godsend, experts said.  Source:  SJ Mercury News


The Panama Canal drought continues to impact global shipping as Gatún Lake, its primary water source, recording historically low levels. This situation is expected to persist until May with this year being one  of the driest years on record resulting in record low lake levels.  Source:  Plaza Fresh

While this season certainly was not a record Pear crop season, overall supply was up compared to the previous year. Total production volume this season amounts to 15.4 million boxes versus 14.1 million boxes last season. All varieties saw an increase in volume, except the Green D'Anjou. While demand for pears has been steady, pricing has been lower than expected.  Source:  Fresh Plaza


The North Coast wine country has been one of the areas most impacted by the wildfires and, now, by the insurance market’s reactivity.  Those who have not yet faced non-renewal are dreading a potential notice.  There is hope new regulations will help alleviate the insurance nightmare many wineries recently faced.  Source:  American Vineyard


The United Kingdom’s government announced it would suspend tariffs for at least two years on raw kernel and inshell almonds from all origins – including the U.S. – beginning April 11, 2024.  The tariffs – 4% on inshell almonds and 2% on raw kernels – have been in place since the UK left the European Union in 2021. Source:  California Ag Net


Baby Gem lettuce has finished up harvest in Yuma, Arizona, and production has transitioned to Salinas, California where harvest has just begun. Supplies to start the Salinas region are strong, however weather has caused a slower start to the season for many leaf and lettuce items.  This is a result of the cooler and wetter weather this season.  The Salinas supply will be available through November.  Source:  Fresh Plaza


First Quality Produce, headquartered in Fresno, is excited to launch its "Snack Buddies" branded snack packs. These new offerings are designed to cater to the health-conscious consumer and snack lover alike, providing fresh, tasty, and convenient snacking options.  Source:  Fresh Plaza

Thanks to consumers’ growing preference for healthy food and earlier successful marketing of nuts and dried fruit products across the country, China’s consumption and demand for nuts and dried fruit has exploded over the past few years.  Along with strong consumption and sales between 2012 and 2022, imports of nuts expanded substantially from $0.5 billion in 2012 to $3.3 billion in 2022, with record imports in 2021 of $3.5 billion.  Source:  Pacific Nut Producer


Forecast calls for strong domestic blueberry supply  in the immediate months from several growing regions including California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.   California's Central Valley will provide ample supplies of fresh blueberries from mid-May through mid-to-late June. The Oxnard organic blueberry crop  will hit peak production volume in early April, before a steady decline in May. Source:  Fresh Plaza