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» March 18, 2009 «
A federal agency has asked the Sonoma County Water Agency to restrict farmers' water use for frost protection to save endangered fish. Short term, the restriction probably wouldn't be in place until after frost season, but long term is another issue. Farmers are hoping for a warm spring so they won't need frost protection. Recent rain has recharged vineyard root zones, so growers won't need to irrigate as early as when the soil is dry. Farmers are preparing for a season of limited irrigation water availability.
Most of the nation's celery is grown in California along the Pacific Coast. There is a fungal disease, fusarium yellows, that attacks the plant roots, causing the celery to turn yellow and die. Now, researchers have developed disease-resistant celery that allows growers to produce celery without chemicals to fight the fungus. Researchers continue to work on developing better-tasting celery varieties. Retail supplies should remain plentiful and of good quality.
California winegrape growers earned an average of 5 percent more for their grapes in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to a federal government report. The average price for all varieties was more than $547 per ton. The total production was 6 percent less than in 2007. The chardonnay variety—at more than 15 percent—made up the largest segment of the harvest. Growers in Napa County earned the highest average price at more than $3,000 per ton.
Rice researchers have developed a procedure to control aquatic weeds. These weeds have developed resistance to herbicides. In a three-year experiment, the researchers used drill-seeded rice plots and then switched back to the common water-seeding method. The result was the resistant weeds were not a serious problem. Rice cannot be rotated, and this discovery will allow farmers to grow rice without aquatic weeds taking nutrients away from the rice crop.Top