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» December 13, 2006 «
Despite challenges from a rainy spring and a hot summer, California strawberry growers appear poised to set another production record. With a little more than two weeks left in the year, farmers have marketed 13.7 billion pounds of strawberries. The California Strawberry Commission says that's ahead of last year's record pace. Most berries now come from the Oxnard region, and farmers in Orange and San Diego counties expect to start harvest soon.
Continued strong demand for beef encourages cattle ranchers as they look forward to the new year. Ranchers characterize 2006 as a good year overall. The strong domestic demand meant cattle prices remained favorable for ranchers, and Asian markets began to re-open to American beef. Producers say increasing prices for corn and continued high fuel prices could offset some of the gains they've seen.
Good news about the health benefits of red wine appears to be having an impact on wine sales. The AC Nielsen Company said sales of red wine jumped more than 8 percent in November, following news about a Harvard Medical School report on its health benefits. New studies show that compounds in red wine benefit the heart, the muscle system and might even slow the aging process.
Because honeybees are so important to so many crops that require them for pollination, there's been a lot of attention recently to bee health. Pests and diseases have weakened beehives in California and elsewhere. Now, researchers say they have learned that a mother queen bee can transmit viruses to her offspring. They say that knowledge will help them find ways to improve the health of bee colonies.Top