AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif. Many Valley cherry growers have been trying to dry their crops because of the rain.

Some spent the night air blasting their orchards to get the water off the cherries.

When water collects near the cherry stem, the fruit can crack. Cracked cherries taste the same but can't be sold by growers.

The rain can also cause blueberries to crack and strawberries to get mold and mildew.

Farmers are worried about the impact of a quarantine because of the European grapevine moth.

The California Farm Bureau Reports, government agencies will restrict crop movement to stop the pest from spreading.

A half-dozen moths trapped in Fresno County were the first to be found outside the north coast region, where they first appeared last fall. The moth prefers grapevines but also attacks other crops.

The Fresno County Ag Commissioner's office and "U.C. Cooperative Extension-Fresno" have set up grower meetings this week about the moths. There's a meeting Wednesday from 10 a.m. until noon at the Kearney Ag Center in Parlier.

There's also a meeting Saturday from ten until noon at the California tree fruit agreement in Reedley. Topics include trapping efforts, pest identification and management along with the specifics of the quarantine guidelines.

Farmers and state officials are exploring solutions to nitrate pollution in heavily impacted parts of the state. They include regulating Central Valley farmers who rely on commercial fertilizer.

Experts say irrigated farm land is a huge problem because it's constantly releasing nitrates and irrigation drives the nitrates deeper into the groundwater.

One way to stop the nitrate cycle is to use less fertilizer or a slow release fertilizer. Another solution is for farms to use monitoring wells. The Southern Central Valley and the Salinas Valley are two of the most nitrate-saturated parts of California.

Early planted corn fields have sprouted in the South Valley. Tulare County's agricultural commissioner reports some corn fields have grown up to 9 inches tall, even with cooler temperatures slowing down the growth.

Most alfalfa is being cut for silage. Winter forage is being harvested. Early apricots and peaches are starting to be harvested. Cherries are being harvested and shipped to china and brazil. The extent of rain damage to early varieties of cherries is not yet known.

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