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» August 5, 2008 «
What could be a record California almond harvest has begun in the Central Valley. Kern County farmers started last week and the harvest will gradually move northward. Observers say the crop looks good, and should achieve the anticipated volume record. Farmers generally have enough water to bring this year's almonds to harvest. But many worry there may not be enough water for the post-harvest irrigation that helps trees build toward next year's crop.
If Medflies stay away for another few days, authorities will be able to lift a quarantine that has hampered Solano County farmers. Officials imposed restrictions on moving crops, after Mediterranean fruit flies turned up near Dixon last year. The county agricultural commissioner says the quarantine proved particularly difficult for farmers who grow tomatoes or bell peppers, or who sell directly via farmers' markets or subscription. The Medfly quarantine is set to expire Friday.
Love could prove frustrating for beetles that attack a variety of trees. That's the hope of experts from the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Illinois. They have discovered cheap, generic blends of love potions known as pheromones that can be used to confuse longhorned beetles. The pheromones disrupt the beetles' mating cycles before the insects can bore into fruit trees, ornamental plants and timber.
Organic-farming research at Fresno State University has received a boost. The university announced it has earned a grant from the federal government, allowing it to expand its organic-agriculture program. Fresno State has already received organic certification for a greenhouse and a small plot where vegetables are grown, and plans to seek certification for additional land. Fresno State has been planning its organic agricultural program since 2004.Top