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» February 19, 2008 «
An unexpected storm dropped needed precipitation on San Diego County late last week. The storm came from the East and was not predicted. However, farmers welcomed the moisture as it came in time to postpone irrigation again. Growers have 30 percent less water this year because of drought restrictions from Metropolitan Water District. It was a cold storm with the snow level at 1,800 feet. However, thus far no frost damage has been reported although that sometimes takes a week to show up.
Word of nations scrambling for affordable food is causing a lowering of agricultural tariffs that governments have used to control trade. It has some leaders hoping for a start of talks in the global trade deal. However, the fact that the market is allowing trade because of temporary tariff reductions means any negotiations may remain out of reach. Some countries have cut import duties on staples such as wheat, rice and cooking oil to make them affordable. But, government leaders are unwilling to make permanent reductions.
Farm advisors are showing almond farmers how to use chipped or shredded wood from tree pruning as a soil amendment. Well-managed prunings can become a source of organic matter and nutrients in the soil. Poorly managed the prunings can be a nuisance, making orchard access difficult the next season. Farmers no longer can burn orchard waste. Incorporating mulched pruning into the soil reduces costs of having the prunings hauled away in addition to improving the soil.
Scientists have developed a new food for honeybees. It's called MegaBee, and beekeepers have been able to buy it for about six months. The researchers say their experiments show bees ate MegaBee at about the same rate as pollen, but they help produce more brood or young than bees that only ate pollen. Continuing research should reveal more about bees' nutrition needs. Researchers hope the food may help protect beehives from colony collapse disorder.Top