Smoke Impacts Winegrape Quality and Raisin Drying
Wildfire continues to damage farmland and crops. Today’s report includes a few wildfire-related stories from throughout California agriculture, courtesy of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
Farmers and ranchers who have crop insurance and have suffered wildfire-related losses should contact their agents within 72 hours, according to the government agency overseeing crop insurance. Winegrape growers who fear their crops may have been damaged by smoke may be covered by insurance, though they must provide evidence of a laboratory test. Private labs have been backlogged, but state and university labs have offered to help test grapes.
Hazy skies caused by wildfire smoke has slowed progress of the California raisin crop. Farmers say it’s been taking up to two weeks longer than usual to dry grapes into raisins in San Joaquin Valley vineyards. The smoke won’t affect the quality of the raisins, but the delay in drying could reduce the size of the crop by leaving the raisins more vulnerable to insects or to damage from an early rain.
A new, online service attempts to match landowners who want to reduce wildfire fuels with livestock owners whose animals could graze the land. Called Match.Graze, the website was developed by University of California Cooperative Extension. The extension service says grazing can provide an affordable alternative for decreasing grasses and other fire fuels—especially on steep, rocky terrain or land in the urban-wildland interface.
(Source: California Farm Bureau Federation)