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» April 25, 2007 «
Cattle ranchers say they hope soon to see increases in beef exports to Japan. The U.S. has given Japanese inspectors permission to audit American meatpacking plants. If the plants pass the inspections, Japan will no longer check every shipment of American beef. California producers are currently sending beef to Japan on a weekly basis. But volumes have stayed low since a case of the cattle disease BSE was found in the U.S.
The state's crop of winter wheat appears to be developing well. A government report shows that more than 90 percent of California-grown wheat appears to be in excellent or good condition. The exception comes in those fields grown without irrigation water. Rain in Northern California earlier this week did no harm to the developing crop and the California Wheat Commission says breezes following the rain prevented fungal diseases from gaining a foothold.
A supercomputer in San Diego has provided new information that could speed production of cellulosic ethanol. Researchers want to find more efficient ways to make fuel from "cellulosic" sources such as rice straw and wood chips. At the University of California, San Diego, scientists used a supercomputer to analyze the process through which cellulose breaks down into sugars. They say that could provide useful information in speeding cellulosic ethanol production.
Planting certain native grasses along roadsides appears to squeeze out invasive, non-native weeds. University of California specialists have been experimenting with several native, perennial grasses planted next to roads in the Sacramento Valley. A study indicates that the native grasses remain green well into the dry season and benefit native animals. The grasses also keep out weeds such as yellow starthistle and Italian ryegrass.Top