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» September 14, 2005 «
The high cost of diesel fuel has brought out thieves to farms and other rural California locations. Many farmers have reported fuel thefts. The California Farm Bureau's rural crime prevention specialist says farmers can prevent thefts by taking simple steps such as locking up fuel supplies and removing keys from parked machinery. Although thieves may cut locks, they are less likely to do so because of the time involved.
Adverse weather earlier in the season increases the potential for a problem in rice fields known as "lodging." That's when the rice plants bend down toward the ground. Record-high temperatures in July followed cool, wet weather that interfered with planting and plant growth in the spring. Forecasters estimate that at least 467 thousand acres of California rice will be harvested this year. A year ago, growers harvested a record 600 thousand acres.
Fall artichoke harvest has started in the Castroville area. The California Artichoke Commission suggests consumers buy them while they last. The fall harvest is usually short, three weeks on average. This year's crop is bigger, thanks to foggy weather during the summer. Many retail stores will be featuring the tasty thistles in produce ads during the next few weeks.
The right combination of scientific knowledge and farmer expertise has yielded results for researchers who are studying farm evaporation ponds. Central Valley farmers use the ponds to catch water that runs off from fields. The ponds can contain concentrated salts and other elements. But scientists have found a salt-loving Bermuda grass that thrives on ground used as evaporation ponds. The grass can be used to feed cattle.
On the Calendar:
The Tulare County Fair opens today (Wednesday) in Tulare and the Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Faire starts in Grass Valley.