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» August 4, 2008 «
Prices winegrape growers earn are increasing this year, according to Allied Grape Growers in Fresno. Farmers are being offered the highest prices in seven years. Some wineries are offering farmers longer term contracts to plant certain grape varieties. Wineries that have not been in the market the past several seasons are offering to buy grapes this year. A higher price for farmers doesn't necessarily mean consumers will pay more for wine because of competition among wineries.
California Gala apples are being harvested and consumers should find them in retail stores this week. Because it hasn't been extremely hot the fruit has good color and has sized well. The California Apple Commission says overall quality is good. Demand is strong as apples from Chile are finished, and Washington State harvest is later than average. Export demand for California apples is also increasing because of the weak dollar.
Red imported fire ants continue to infest a small area of Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. A new study says all red imported fire ants can be traced back to nine to 20 queens which arrived on a ship in Mobile, Ala. in the 1930s. Scientists say this discovery of the genetic diversity of the exotic insects will help them develop biologically based management practices to control red imported fire ants. Orange County is the only one in California with an active control program.
Researchers are gathering genetic information to develop avocado trees that are resistant to diseases that rot the tree roots. Those diseases kill the trees if they are not treated. By developing new avocado tree varieties, the researchers can develop a tree that resists the fungus that otherwise would destroy it. Avocados are increasing in popularity among American consumers. California leads the nation in avocado production.Top