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» February 20, 2008 «
Cold weather has slowed almond bloom. In Northern California farm advisors are saying this is the latest bloom in memory, about two weeks later than average. Because the buds haven't opened, the predicted rain won't have an impact on the crop. The late bloom has allowed farmers to clear downed trees and branches from orchards so bee hives could be placed. Once warm temperatures arrive it is anticipated the trees will quickly move into full bloom.
Rangeland grass conditions in California have greatly improved due to recent rain, according to a federal government report. Vegetation has gained considerable amounts of nutrients allowing ranchers to lighten up on supplemental feeding of cattle. Natural water supplies have eliminated the need for many ranchers to provide supplemental water. Even Southern California rangeland is greatly improved.
UC Davis is adding an additional researcher to study colony collapse disorder in honeybees. Ice cream maker Haagen-Dazs has provided a research donation for a postdoctoral research fellow. Numbers of beehives with the disorder have continued to increase. Researchers will focus on finding the cause of the disorder and how to prevent it. About one-third of the nation's food supply depends on honeybees for pollination.
Pruning in winegrape vineyards is almost complete. Expected rain will cause a halt, but that won't be a major problem as work is nearly finished. Bud break usually happens in March and observers say it will probably happen about the average time this spring because of weather. Growers are anticipating a good crop due to adequate chilling hours. Sonoma County winegrape growers will have their annual pruning championships February 29, an event that attracts many urban residents as viewers.Top