Valley Drought 2014: Citrus Trees Being Yanked Out - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Valley Drought 2014: Citrus Trees Being Yanked Out

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Thousands of acres of almond trees have been dozed over on the Valley's Westside due to the drought and now the same thing is happening to citrus groves on the Eastside.  Thursday grower Lee Bailey watched as a bulldozer pushed over 12 acres of orange trees near Orange Cove.

Bailey farms the grove for two nieces.  He says they pulled them out for a number of reasons.  "We've had to pick some lots with low production and this is some of them and we're pushing out two different blocks."  Bailey says they spent 100-thousand dollars for extra water and the gamble didn't pay off.  To make matters worse the oranges on the trees pushed out were frozen in October and the fruit wasn't good enough to be salvaged for juice.  

The drought is forcing growers to take drastic measures to stay in business.  The trees relied on water from the Friant Kern Canal to stay green but there's no water for farmers this year.  That is the first time this has happened in the history of the Central Valley Project.

Bailey and his brother Harvey farm 1100 acres and manage another 1100 acres.  He says everyday he worries about water.  "Hopefully we can make it.  We are irrigating everything on one side at a time instead of the furrow and the foggers, switching out the one's we have to low volume emitters.

California Citrus Mutual estimates 50,000 acres of citrus will be dozed due to the drought.  The result will be a 3-billion dollar hit to the state's economy. 
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