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Grapes put squeeze on milk to become top crop
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The grape is now king in San Joaquin County.

Due to a severe decline in milk prices, grapes knocked milk out of the position it has held for a number of years as the No. 1 ag product in the county.

The preliminary 2009 San Joaquin County crop report released Tuesday shows that ag production suffered a 6.6 percent drop in value from the all-time high of $2.129 billion in 2008. The 2009 overall value of crops in San Joaquin County was pegged at $2,000,474,000 by the ag commissioner’s office.

Among the report’s highlights:

•Field crops had a significant decrease in value led by steep drops in hay and cattle prices triggered by a decrease in dairy and beef cattle in the county.

Sweet corn crops and asparagus increased significantly to push vegetable production up by 32.9 percent.

•Declines in housing starts have impacted the county’s nursery stock operations sending volume and value down.

•Cattle and calves prices fell 33.8 percent.