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» July 17, 2006 «
News stories about wildfires often carry the phrase, "only range grasses were destroyed." However, that forage does have value to ranchers. It"s estimated that thousands of dollars of forage are lost each year to wild fire. Without the natural grass, ranchers must buy hay or other feed for their animals, adding to their expense. Fences and outbuildings are also not mentioned as losses. Some ranchers purchase fire insurance for their ranges to help fund feed costs should fire destroy their forage.
State officials remain hopeful that the peach fruit fly quarantine in Fresno can be lifted within another month. No new flies have been found since May 22, thus providing the optimistic view. But officials are still surveying Southern California areas to determine the extent of the diaprepes weevil infestation. There are four quarantines in place in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. That pest may have been brought into California from a southern state.
Pear growers along the Sacramento River will start picking fruit later this week. The harvest is starting about two weeks later than usual. Wet cool spring weather is to blame. The Bartlett variety has a short set, but Bosc pears have an average crop. Farmers" hopes for better prices have been raised by interest in pears from baby food processors. Juice producers have also increased purchases. Processing sales have been off since the demise of Tri-Valley growers several years ago.
Researchers have found dates to be filled with antioxidants and other nutrients. They started their project to help alert consumers to the value of dates, a crop grown in Southern California and the Middle East. There are many varieties of dates, and the researchers found the best performer as far as high nutrients is the Deglet Noor date, the most popular variety for Americans. Research work was conducted at the Agricultural Research Service facility in Riverside.Top