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» June 26, 2007 «
The year started badly, with the worst freeze in recent memory. But nursery operators say demand for plants has been very strong this spring. Those who salvaged crops after the freeze say they're able to sell everything they produce. Rain-free weekends throughout the spring and early summer turned out to be a big factor, as consumers flooded garden centers to replace plants destroyed by the frost.
Produce shippers and nursery operators around California began complying with new Canadian restrictions that took effect yesterday (Monday). Canada wants to keep the light brown apple moth out of its territory, and began requiring certificates that shipments do not contain the pest. Stricter rules apply to the Northern California counties where the insect has been found, but shippers from the Central Valley and as far away as San Diego also must have inspections.
A world-renowned expert on scale insects visits California this week, working with a colleague to make sure specialists can identify the insects accurately. 83-year-old British entomologist Douglas Williams is collaborating on the project at the University of California, Davis. More than 20 exotic species of scale have entered the U.S. during the past two decades, threatening a variety of crops. More precise identification of the invaders can lead to better controls.
International demand for cheese remains strong, and prices have also been buoyed by drought conditions in several producing nations including Australia and New Zealand. Milk producers say increases in wholesale prices have carried through at the retail level. Producers say they're concerned about consumer reaction, but add there is little on the horizon that would reduce cheese prices. Pizza producers are big users of cheese, but reportedly are reluctant to raise their prices in the short term.Top