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» December 6, 2006 «
After battling successfully to save his parents' home from this week's Ventura County wildfire, a farmer says it may take weeks, or even months, to gauge the damage to orchards in its path. Farmer David Schwabauer of Moorpark says that when the fire raced through citrus and avocado groves, it burned leaves and brush on the ground. It also scorched the roots and bases of the trees, while not burning the tops. Farmers say some trees will recover, but others may not.
Chilly weather brings welcome change in California winegrape vineyards. The cold causes the vines to go dormant, signaling farmers that it's time to prune their vines. Growers examine some of the buds to assess how large the crop will be next year, then skilled crews prune the vines according to what they find. Farmers can also use this time to protect vines from fungal diseases that can start during moist weather. Pruning will continue into January.
There's been more milk on the market. California dairy farms produced about 2 percent more milk in October than in the same month a year ago, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture. It attributes the increase to a larger herd of milk cows and higher production per cow. For the year thus far, milk production has risen more than 3 percent. The department says that butter, cheese and nonfat dried milk production also increased in October.
A pioneer in California avocado production has earned the highest honor bestowed by the California Farm Bureau Federation. Ernie Righetti of San Luis Obispo won the Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award, given at the organization–s Annual Meeting in Anaheim. Righetti, who–s now 90 years old, became active in Farm Bureau in 1931 and began converting his family cattle ranch to avocado production in the late 1960s.Top