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» June 14, 2005 «
Challenging. That's the word North Coast winegrape growers use to describe this season so far. Scattered rain this spring forces growers whose vineyards were dampened to protect their crops from fungal diseases. The last rain also stimulated the cover crops that grow between the rows of vines, requiring farmers to mow. And farmers must undertake additional pruning, to control wild shoots of vines.
They're working as fast as they can in Sacramento Valley wheat fields. A prediction of rain for the coming weekend has farmers harvesting wheat rapidly … and hoping the forecast proves incorrect. Rain last week didn't do much damage. But now that the crop is mature, rain could cause wheat to sprout, greatly reducing its potential value. The overall crop already has been reduced as farmers cut wheat early to sell as cattle feed.
Digging out plants and brush behind a shopping center will help Solano County eradicate a dangerous crop pest. The glassy-winged sharpshooter reappeared in Vacaville, near where an infestation turned up last year. The insect carries a disease that kills grapevines and other plants. This week, 15 members of the California Conservation Corps will clear away plants where the insects were found, eliminating possible hiding places for the pest.
More than three-dozen California college students who are studying agricultural subjects have been chosen to receive scholarships from the California Farm Bureau Scholarship Foundation. Each of the recipients plans a career in agriculture, in occupations from running a farm to working in education, marketing, engineering or other related fields. The foundation has now surpassed $1 million in total scholarships awarded, since its inception in 1955.Top