Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityNatural gas prices from a greenhouse operator
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» December 12, 2008 «
Apple harvest in California is over, but some packinghouses are still shipping apples from cold storage. The California Apple Commission says Gala apples had excellent quality this season. Demand remained strong, as did the prices farmers earn. California Gala apples ripen when similar apples are not available from other parts of the world. Farmers noting an opportunity are grafting trees to that variety and production is expected to increase next season to help meet consumer demand.
Lower prices for natural gas is welcome news for California greenhouse operators. When prices were high in recent years, growers had to absorb the costs as they are unable to pass input costs along to retailers. The price has dropped from around $8 a therm to about $5. That savings amounts to thousands of dollars for greenhouse operators. But now farmers face the difficult decision whether to buy at this price for future delivery or wait and hope for even lower prices in coming months.
Tree losses from high wind can be a problem for all orchardists. Last year heavy winds took down thousands of trees, including some prune plum varieties. Trees are more vulnerable to wind when young as their root systems haven't had a chance to get established. Farm advisors are suggesting farmers plant their trees in a north-south configuration to help trees ventilate better. Saving trees will help consumers have good supplies of fruit and nuts available at retail stores.
A new study shows older laboratory animals that ate a diet rich in a compound found in berries and grapes reversed negative effects of aging on brain function. The study had the rats divided into three groups: control, and control adjusted to low or high concentrations of the compound. The results show the compound is effective in reversing cognitive decline and that improved working memory. The researchers plan to test other compounds that show similar potential.Top