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» September 8, 2006 «
Although official estimates call for a near-record crop, California walnut farmers say they fear they will find more damage as harvest approaches. A government forecast indicates a 1 percent drop from last year's record walnut production. But farmers say they continue to find more sunburned walnuts as they inspect their orchards. The severe July heat wave earns the blame. Walnut harvest will begin later this month, and farmers say they will know more when they begin gathering the crop.
The last remaining Mediterranean fruit fly quarantine in California has been lifted. A Medfly quarantine in San Jose ended yesterday (Thursday). The state Department of Food and Agriculture says the area is now free of the pest. The quarantine went into effect last October. Crews treated the area and released sterile male Medflies to quell the infestation. The Medfly can ruin more than 260 fruits and vegetables.
Four measures on the November ballot to increase taxes drew particular concern, as the state's largest farm organization released its ballot recommendations yesterday. The California Farm Bureau Federation said higher taxes hurt farmers' ability to compete with farmers elsewhere. It urged voters to reject Propositions 86 through 89, which would raise tobacco taxes, add new oil taxes, create a statewide property tax, and increase taxes to pay for public financing of political campaigns.
By changing the way they prepare their fields and plant their crops, California rice farmers may be able to reduce the number of weeds they have to fight each season. University of California researchers tried different methods of preparing and planting rice fields. They found one particular combination that appeared best at suppressing weed growth. Farm advisors say the method may allow farmers to save fuel by plowing or disking their fields less often.Top