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» December 9, 2005 «
As the winter vegetable harvest begins in the Imperial Valley, farmers say cool weather has helped on two fronts. The temperatures have reduced populations of a pest known as the whitefly. And, the weather has slowed the harvest ... meaning that farmers have enough help to pick the crops so far. Growers worry that, as harvest accelerates, they'll have trouble finding enough people to harvest broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce and other crops.
A "cologne" of ginger root oil makes male Mediterranean fruit flies more attractive to females ... and that may have implications for California farmers. Researchers say they can make sterile male Medflies more effective, by exposing the sterile flies to ginger root oil. If wild females mate with sterile males, Medfly infestations taper off. The method is being used in places including California, where a Medfly outbreak would threaten hundreds of crops
The president of the University of California pledges that the university will remain a world leader in agricultural research. UC President Robert Dynes spoke to the California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Monterey this week. Dynes said the university's Cooperative Extension service would continue to deliver research findings to farmers and ranchers. The extension service is recovering from years of budget cuts and has begun to fill vacant positions.
According to the latest U.S. Census of Agriculture, there are more than 35,000 women farmers in California. A new book published by the University of California Small Farm Center profiles 17 of them. In releasing the book yesterday (Thursday), the center said it offers advice for other women considering agricultural businesses. Many of the women profiled in the book changed careers to become farmers.Top