Food & Farm News
» June 15, 2011 «
Grape growers have something to smile about as spring finally begins its transition into summer. Until this week, farmers battled the nagging cool weather as it slowed grape growth, causing mildew and fungus to spread. Farmers say they still expect a high-quality grape crop if weather cooperates from here on out. In addition to the weather, growers closely monitored populations of the European grapevine moth. According to a report, compared to last year, the moth's numbers have been much lower.
The average American will consume slightly more than seven pounds of strawberries this year, and there should be plenty available. California strawberry production could be 2.53 billion pounds, which would be down 2 percent from last year's total. But the U.S. Agriculture Department noted in a report that increased production from Florida could result in a national crop that is “fractionally higher than a year ago.” Nearly 90 percent of strawberries produced in the U.S. are consumed domestically. Strawberries that are exported go mainly to Canada.
Researchers have discovered four new viruses that infect honeybees. The 10-month study by the University of California also determined that the viruses and bacteria previously linked to the bee illness known as colony collapse disorder were also present in healthy hives. The researchers say they hope that by understanding the viruses and bacteria present in healthy hives, they will soon begin to unravel colony collapse disorder, which has been linked to the mysterious disappearance of one-third of America's honeybees.
To prevent salmon and steelhead fish from being caught in water pumps, the Patterson Irrigation District is installing 12-foot-tall, stainless steel screens along the banks of the San Joaquin River. The screens are part of a $13 million project scheduled to be completed next month. The project aims to help rebuild fish populations while maintaining irrigation supplies for the area's farms. The project also includes replacing some of the irrigation district's pumps with new, energy-efficient models.Top