Value of crops in SLO County increased in 2009

The value of San Luis Obispo County crops improved last year, increasing 3 percent compared to 2008, according to the annual production statistics from the county’s Department of Agriculture.

The increase is despite the negative effects of a four-year drought that continued into 2009, said Bob Lilley, the county’s Agricultural Commissioner.

“Other than the lack of rainfall, the overall mild winter and summer temperatures provided ideal growing conditions for some of the county’s crops,” he said.

As was the case in 2008, wine grapes held the top position in overall value. Strawberries overtook broccoli for the No. 2 spot. Coastal avocado and Valencia orange trees had lower yields because of a week of unusually high temperatures in June, and the economic downturn hit the local nursery industry hard. The cattle industry saw a slight rebound, however, with the size of herds reduced.

-Julie Lynem