Today's Pricing

WATERMELONS — F.O.B.S AS OF SEPT. 29

TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA — Shipments (TX 135-92-78, seedless 126-86-73, seeded 9-6-5; OK seedless 10-9-6) — Movement expected to decrease seasonally. Trading fairly active for very light supplies. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type approximately 45 counts 24-26 cents. Quality variable. Harvest curtailed in most areas the week of Sept. 22.

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, CALIF. — Shipments (206-218-81, seedless 196-204-76, seeded 10-14-5) — Movement expected to decrease seasonally. Trading early active, late moderate. Prices 60 count generally unchanged, others higher. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type approximately 35 and 45 counts 18-20 cents, approximately 60 count mostly 18 cents. Quality variable.

MEXICO CROSSINGS THROUGH NOGALES, ARIZ. — Crossings (9-11-xx*, seedless 9-9-17, seeded 0-2-0) — Movement expected to increase seasonally. Supplies insufficient to establish a market. Quality variable. The first f.o.b. report is expected to be issued the week of Oct. 13. *unavailable



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Kern County Produce

Water less a worry than development in Kern County

Kern County growers are glad they had a mild winter, but some wish their neighbors upstream would have had more extreme weather.

Meager snowpack in the higher elevations means less water in the areas downstream as the year advances. This winter’s lack of snow already spurred the Central Valley Water Project to reduce water delivery estimates from 25% to 20% in March.

The California Department of Water Resources also is anticipating lower water levels. The department initially said water deliveries would be 40%, but that was decreased to 35% in recent weeks.

Growing regions in Kern County are spread across several water jurisdictions, said Pete Belluomini, vice president of farming for Lehr Bros. Inc., Edison, Calif.

“We deal with multiple water districts at the local, state and federal levels,” he said. “But with the timing of the potato crop in Kern County, water is not that big of a factor.”

Belluomini said a larger threat to Kern County vegetable growers is the availability of land. He is a member of the county planning commission and grew up in the area. During his lifetime Belluomini said he has seen the number of growing acres drop significantly as development projects encroach on fields.

In addition to development of land, competition for land is high among growers of different commodities. Belluomini said almond and grape production in the county is cutting into the land available for vegetable crops.

The 2011 Kern County agricultural report showed almonds as the No. 2 commodity in terms of dollar value at $727 million. Grapes (all uses) came in at No. 3 at $707 million. Carrots for fresh and processing sales were No. 5 at $419 million and potatoes for fresh and processing were No. 11 at $100 million.


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