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» August 16, 2005 «
Younger grapevines appear more susceptible than older ones to the plant ailment known as Pierce's disease, according to researchers with a Central Valley task force. The group in Kern and Tulare counties studies how the fatal plant disease spreads. Incidents of Pierce's disease have decreased each year since 2002. Authorities have reduced populations of an insect that spreads the disease, the glassy-winged sharpshooter, but say it's unlikely the insect can be eradicated.
Apple growers say their orchards have enjoyed a better year for production this season. The California Apple Commission agrees with government predictions that production will increase about 5 percent. Market conditions are also better this year, as Chilean imports stopped about the time the California crop came into production. Most farmers have been able to counter this month's hot weather with overhead irrigation systems. Apple farmers describe fruit quality as excellent.
Unofficial estimates indicate that kiwifruit production will rise this fall. The California Kiwifruit Commission predicts a 49 million-pound harvest. That's about 7 million pounds more than last year. The commission attributes the increase to more acreage and better yields. Most kiwifruit sized well before the hot spell hit. Farmers have sustained their vines with adequate amounts of water. Kiwifruit harvest should start in about a month in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
Planting shade trees in pastures appears to benefit the plants that animals eat. Soil scientists say the shade provided by the trees helps the plants produce more protein than the same plants in direct sun. Experimenting with different kinds of forage plants provided the same results. Researchers say the effect is especially noticeable on marginal pastureland.
On the Calendar:
The Monterey County Fair begins today (Tuesday) in Monterey.