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» July 18, 2005 «
Four more California horses contracted West Nile virus last week, according to the Department of Food and Agriculture. That brings the total this year to 15 of which 9 have died or been euthanized. Two counties reported first cases of the disease this year, Fresno and Calaveras. Horses in 8 counties have been infected with the virus this year. State veterinarians continue to urge horse owners to have their animals vaccinated.
Mexico has agreed to end its ban on wheat from California. The 9-year-old quarantine was imposed after karnal bunt was found in Southern California wheat fields. A small area of the Palo Verde Valley still has karnal bunt restrictions and wheat from that region cannot be exported. But, wheat from the rest of the state can. The California Wheat Commission is pleased that California farmers can again sell their grain in what is the second largest market for wheat exports.
Demand for almond hulls and shells is increasing so businesses in that recycling program are seeking additional space. Dairy farmers use the hulls as a supplemental feed for their cows, and the ground up shells are used as bedding. Research found the hulls provide nutrients cows need. Dairy herds are expanding to meet demand for milk, and the hulls augment hay and other feed. Growers say at least one huller offers his services to farmers at no cost in exchange for the hulls, which sell for as much as $80 a ton.
Flavorful new apricots known as "Kettleman" may soon be available at retail stores. U.S. agriculture researchers have released the new variety to nurseries and others. The fruit is reported as deep orange in color with a pleasing taste and alluring aroma. It is an early ripening variety ready for harvest in mid-May. It was named for Kettleman, California, which is a small town near which the test trees were planted. Some farmers are expected to plant the new trees this year.Top