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» July 19, 2006 «
Cows produce less milk during hot weather. Farmers say the decline depends in part on how hot it is at the farm where the cows are located. Production in the present hot spell is off from 5-10 percent. If the heat continues without interruption milk production will decline even more. Dairies located where the evening cools more report less decline in production. Many farms have various cooling devices to keep the cows from overheating.
Farm officials report finding an infestation of Japanese dodder in Yolo County, which brings the number of counties reporting the invasive weed to six. Thus far it's reported only in an urban area of West Sacramento. The weed is most widespread in Sacramento County where it has been found in 44 different locations. Agricultural commissioners' inspectors are searching for it in the rest of California's counties. Thus far it hasn't been found in farm production areas. The parasitic plant will eventually kill the host. It's preferred host is citrus.
Farm inspectors in Solano County say they've not found any additional glassy winged sharpshooters in Vacaville in a year. However, it will be at least another year before the infestation is declared eradicated. The California Department of Food and Agriculture says the insect has been declared eradicated in two other locations. One is in Fowler in the San Joaquin Valley, the other in Cupertino in the San Francisco Bay region. The insect spreads Pierce's disease in grape vineyards and can also carry disease to other plants.
Access to foreign markets is an issue that appears to be blocking progress in World Trade Organization talks. California farmers and ranchers look to many countries with developing middle class citizens as potential markets for California farm goods. But, with high tariffs in those nations making California goods more expensive, market access is limited. Farm leaders doubt a deal can be made without concessions from developing nations.Top