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» December 2, 2008 «
Central Valley farmers are planting more Clementine mandarins this year. Consumers are continuing to increase demand for the popular citrus fruit. Nursery growers say they didn't anticipate the demand for the Clementine trees this fall and could sell more if they had them. Farmers who are planting them are certain they will have adequate supplies of irrigation water, while other farmers are waiting to see if they have enough water before planting new crops.
It's taken seven years, but plant geneticists have developed a lettuce plant resistant to the leafminer pest. The insect is so named because the larvae create mine-like tunnels in the lettuce leaves when they hatch. The new plant also shrugs off the virus that causes lettuce mosaic, which is spread by green peach aphids. The plant variety was made available to plant breeders for commercial use earlier this year. California is the leading lettuce producer in the nation.
As winter weather sets in, California dairy farmers are moving their cows to barns where they are protected from the elements. The farmers have reported production declines the past several months because processing facilities are at capacity and restrict the amount of milk they can take. State regulation is slowing the construction of additional facilities. Dairy producers are also following new regulations to keep potential runoff under control.
Two California academics are being honored for their work in developing rice that can be grown in flood-prone areas worldwide. Julia Bailey-Serres, UC Riverside professor of genetics, and Pamela Ronald, UC Davis professor of plant pathology, have received the 2008 National Research Initiative Discovery Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Their research has taken more than a decade to complete.Top