Record rainfall that swept through California last week cost Ventura County farmers at least $38 million, although growers in other areas reported only minor damage to crops.

In Ventura County, where torrential rain triggered a devastating mudslide that killed 10 people, growers struggled to save what they could from fields caked in mud and debris and littered with rotten fruit and downed trees.

The initial estimate of $38 million in crop and equipment losses was expected to rise, county Agricultural Commissioner W. Earl McPhail said Tuesday.

Strawberries, citrus fruits and celery were among the hardest-hit crops, with some fields collecting up to 12 inches of rain. Strawberry growers suffered an estimated $10 million in losses, McPhail said.

The damp berries are showing signs of botrytis, a waterborne fungus that can kill the plants if it isn't eliminated quickly. Growers are rushing to pick the berries and spray fungicide before it's too late, McPhail said.

Other counties were still assessing damages. San Bernardino County, the only other county to have a preliminary estimate, reported about $2 million in damages, said Dave Franz, spokesman for the California Farm Bureau.

There were scattered reports of minor damage due to field flooding, fungus growth and delayed harvests from the Central Valley to San Diego.

Source: Association Release