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» April 5, 2007 «
With pastures drying out and watering ponds evaporating, California cattle ranchers must move their animals early. Ranchers say they're already moving cattle off of foothill ranges. It's an early start to a springtime pattern, during which ranchers move cattle to irrigated pastures or to mountain meadows. This year the move is early because many of the watering holes used by cattle are drying up from lack of rain. In some cases, farmers may sell their cattle earlier.
About 34,000 acres of recently planted almond trees will produce their first commercial crops this year, according to government estimates. That will raise the number of "bearing acres" in California by about 6 percent. And another 60,000 acres of trees are in what's called their second leaf, meaning they'll produce some almonds this season. Marketers say demand for almonds continues to rise to accommodate the increasing production. Annual demand now tops 1 billion pounds.
As California strives to become the nation's top cheese-producing state, production from the Central Valley will lead the way. The state Department of Food and Agriculture says Merced County led California in cheese production last year, followed by Tulare and Kings counties. The state's annual review of dairy production says nearly half of the milk produced in California is made into cheese.
If mosquitoes or other insect pests hitch a ride on a commercial airplane, authorities may be able to use "air curtains" to keep the insects from disembarking. Research scientists have been experimenting with the machines, which are big blowers that can be installed near airline doors. The researchers say the air curtains also show promise in preventing pests from entering the planes in the first place.Top