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» August 19, 2009 «
Discovery of citrus greening disease in Mexico has U.S. farmers and researchers filled with hope and fear. Hope that a cure for the disease may soon be found. Fear that an insect could carry the disease into California. It has caused over $1 billion in damage to the Florida citrus business. If allowed into California, citrus greening could greatly reduce availability of California citrus fruit to consumers. Researchers are developing plans to keep the Asian citrus psyllid out of California citrus growing regions.
California farmers only planted about one-third of the wild rice acreage this year compared with 2008. After three solid years, the price farmers earned softened at harvest time last fall, as California and other growing regions all had bumper crops. With white rice prices stronger farmers turned to where they could earn more. Wild rice harvest has begun and yields and quality are reported as good. Because of the surplus created last fall, consumers should have no problem finding wild rice in retail outlets.
Consumers should find good supplies of raisins all year. The California raisin grape crop is shaping up to be an average size one, according to a government report. The objective measurement report for August projects a crop of more than 2-million tons. That's down 20 percent from last year but there are still plenty of raisins in storage from last year's big crop. During the growing season weather has been favorable and the raisin crop is ahead and maturing nicely. In general quality appears better than 2008.
A new study narrows the direction of future scientific study into the cause of colony collapse disorder in honeybee hives. Overall, colonies with CCD were infected with a greater total number of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. More than half the affected colonies were infected with three or more viruses. Bee specialists with Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture studied apiaries in California and Florida during their research.Top