Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityDiscovery of the year's first case of West Nile Virus in horses
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» June 2, 2005 «
It killed more than 200 horses in California last year, and West Nile virus has begun showing up in horses earlier this year. The California Department of Food and Agriculture said yesterday (Wednesday) that a 3-year-old mare in Plumas County is recovering from the state's first confirmed 2005 case of equine West Nile virus. State officials say this case was found a month earlier than last year's first case, and they urge horse owners to vaccinate their animals.
"Back-to-back disasters" have hit California prune orchards, according to a growers organization. The Prune Bargaining Association said yesterday that hot, dry, windy weather during pollination will lead to far-below-normal production again this year. The association said yields would be much better than last year's crop, but not enough to bring recovery. Government forecasters issue their first estimate of the state's prune crop tomorrow (Friday).
Record-setting strawberry production continues in California. As of yesterday, production is 9 percent higher than last year at more than 670 million pounds. Farmers say the plants are responding to the rain, which caused some damage earlier this spring. But, the damage was short-lived. Most of the berries now come from the Salinas-Watsonville area, but farmers continue to harvest in all other locations as well. The California Strawberry Commission says fruit quality is excellent.
A compound found in grapes and other fruits appears to slow the reproduction of flu viruses in mice. A report in the Journal on Infectious Diseases says the compound, resveratrol, holds promise as a possible weapon against influenza. The report, from the University of Rome, says the substance does not directly attack flu virus, but makes it harder for the virus to reproduce itself.
On the Calendar:
Beaumont hosts its 87th annual Cherry Festival beginning today (Thursday). The Contra Costa County Fair opens in Antioch.