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» January 26, 2006 «
There have been several developments this week affecting international trade in American beef ... and the latest is encouraging for California ranchers. Taiwan has decided to reopen its borders. It was the fourth largest foreign customer for California beef, before exports dropped when a case of the cattle disease BSE was found in Washington in 2003. Also in the past week, Singapore reopened its market, but Japan again suspended American beef imports.
The difference between rain and snow could affect the water outlook for farmers along the California-Oregon border. Federal officials say the Klamath Basin snowpack stands at more than 150 percent of average. Weekend weather forecasts call for rain or snow in the mountains. Rain would wash away some of the existing snow. Farmers are watching the situation closely, because a complex formula of rain and snow totals affects the amount of water available.
In an effort to react quickly and decisively to any new pests attacking table-grape vineyards, authorities have consolidated pest control districts serving Kern and Tulare counties. The unified district is known as the Consolidated Central Valley Table Grape Pest and Disease Control District. It will attack insect intruders such as the vine mealybug and glassy-winged sharpshooter, before they can become entrenched in Central Valley vineyards.
It's an uncommon problem for this time of year, as alfalfa farmers report scattered outbreaks of blue alfalfa aphids in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Mild temperatures during late fall and early winter apparently led to the unusual aphid attacks. Blue alfalfa aphids inject a toxin in the plant that can seriously affect its growth and yields if left untreated. But pest control advisors say farmers have treatment options to battle the infestations.Top