- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Last week's rain storms are pushing up prices of vegetables typically grown this time of year in California and Arizona's southern deserts, according to a story in Western Farm Press. Writer Cary Blake's article blames El Niño.
Last Friday through Sunday, “We exceeded our annual rainfall in about 12 hours,” the story quoted Kurt Nolte, director of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Yuma County. “We had a massive rainstorm between noon and 6 p.m. Thursday.”
Over the weekend iceberg lettuce prices increased to about $12 per 40-pound carton, up from about $8 last Wednesday. Iceberg prices Monday were about $15, almost double since before the storm, Blake reported.
Besides harming crops, the storm created a thick layer of mud in agricultural fields that trapped vegetable harvesting equipment.Khaled Bali, irrigation-water management advisor and acting director of University of California Cooperative Extension in Imperial County, told Blake that about 60 percent to 70 percent of the county’s heavy clay soils have a slow water infiltration rate.
And, according to the article, Bali said rain water has a slower infiltration rate than irrigation water.