Food and Farm News — Drought still influences plant sales trends

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017
 
Drought still influences plant sales trends
Despite the demise of the California drought, plant nurseries say their customers remain interested in drought-tolerant landscaping. Nursery operators say Californians want to remain water conscious while livening up their yards by planting fresh annuals. Demand for what nurseries call “edibles”–such as fruit trees, blueberry bushes and vegetable gardens–has also increased. 
 
Flowering plants benefit farmers
There’s a second “superbloom” underway in California this spring. Along with the wildflower blooms brightening the landscape, plants are flowering in habitat strips planted by farmers along orchards and crop fields. University of California farm advisors say the plantings benefit bees and other pollinators, as well as beneficial insects that attack crop pests. UC publishes a list of plants that can attract beneficial insects to farms and gardens. 
 
Cattle ranchers plan to rebuild herds cautiously
Record rainfall has brought abundant grasses to California pastures, but cattle ranchers say they’re still cautious about expanding their herds. Many ranchers had to reduce their herds during the drought, as pastures went dry and hay prices rose. Now, with greener pastures, ranchers say they’ll rebuild their herds slowly, waiting for a recovery of beef prices and improved beef exports. 
 
California avocado crop will be smaller
In California avocado groves, farmers say it’ll be next year before the benefits of the wet winter show themselves. Avocado production has declined this year, as a result of lingering drought impacts and the cyclical nature of the crop. As a result, wholesale prices for California avocados have risen sharply, compared to a year ago. But farmers say they see a strong bloom on their trees, which bodes well for the 2018 avocado crop. 

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