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» September 13, 2006 «
The Oriental fruit fly has gone Hollywood. That's one of two new pest infestations announced yesterday (Tuesday) by state officials. The Oriental fly has also been found in the Rialto area of San Bernardino County. The Oriental fruit fly attacks more than 230 fruits, vegetables and plants. The state will start eradication work in Hollywood today (Wednesday), using bait that attracts and kills male flies. That work has already started in Rialto.
There will be fewer navel oranges produced in California this coming season, but marketers say consumers may not notice much difference. A government forecast issued yesterday estimated the new navel orange crop will be about 27 percent smaller than the previous one. The survey says the wet spring hurt the crop, and some farmers say July heat caused further problems. A spokeswoman for the Sunkist Growers cooperative says individual oranges will grow larger, offsetting some of the impact.
"Nut nappers" have set their sights on California's almond crop. Thieves have been trespassing onto property, cutting fences, breaking locks and hotwiring tractor-trailers to steal the valuable nuts. Often, they steal loads of almonds just as they're ready to be shipped to market. Rural crime-prevention specialists encourage farmers to make sure containers of almonds are locked away at night, and to upgrade security systems or even hire guards to protect their crops.
A few rice farmers have started harvesting their crop, and many have started draining their fields in preparation for harvest. The California Rice Commission says the main part of the harvest will begin about two weeks later than usual, because of planting delays related to wet spring weather. A government forecast issued yesterday indicates California farmers will harvest about 4 percent more rice than they did a year ago.Top