(April 10) Lower returns for their asparagus crops have caused some California growers to start “rolling” their fields – rolling equipment over asparagus and incorporating it into the soil.

According to the California Farm Bureau Federation, declining prices even have caused some growers to permanently remove their asparagus crops.

Prices growers take in have dropped below the cost of production, the organization said.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report issued last week showed a 17% drop in California asparagus acreage compared to last spring. The report showed 16,600 acres available for harvest in 2008, compared with 22,500 harvested acres in 2006 and 20,000 harvested acres in 2007.