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Rice Farmers Hope For Late Rains and Short Processing Lines

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The giant harvesters are starting to roll on the rice fields in the Central Valley.  California rice farmers are starting to keep an eye on the calendar and on the skies as they try to get their rice into the processors in time.  

North of Sacramento, Dan Spangler worries the late start to the growing season will put too much pressure on the dryers when farmers take their crop in to be processed, "When you harvest rice that's too dry, the kernels -rather than stay whole, they just break into a powder. And so you lose quality and you lose income"

The California Rice Commission says it would be better if the timing of the rice harvests were spread out more, but that the dryers should be able to handle the demand.  
The Central Valley often gets wet weather around the end of October. Spangler says if farmers wait until the rains come, the cost of harvesting goes up, ""You get the rain and you get the mud and the rice harvesters can't go as fast and so you  double up on your expenses for harvesting."  
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says California rice farmers plant more than 560,000 acres of rice each year that yield more than 4.7 billion pounds of rice.
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