Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» April 13, 2007 «
Rain across California this week came too late to help some of the state's dried-out pastures, but cattle ranchers say the wet weather will provide partial relief. Rangeland on the east side of the Central Valley remains green, and the rain will help. But on the west side, many pastures have already turned brown. With little forage available for their animals, ranchers without irrigated pasture have the choice of buying hay for additional feed, or selling their cattle early.
The harsh winter throughout much of the nation, combined with high grain prices, could translate to higher retail beef prices just as the grilling season begins. Government economists say wholesale beef prices are higher than they've been in more than three years. The California Beef Council says it plans promotions throughout the summer during which retailers will feature special prices on various cuts of beef. The council suggests consumers watch for the ads and stock up during sales.
Rising demand for pinot noir wines has encouraged farmers to plant more of the grapes. A government report released yesterday (Thursday) shows that acreage of pinot noir grapes rose 13 percent in California last year. The state's total vineyard acreage remained virtually unchanged from the previous year. Acreage of all winegrape varieties went up slightly, acreage of raisin grapes declined a bit and acreage of table grapes remained the same.
A hardy bacterium may be a key to creating cellulosic ethanol. Making ethanol more efficiently from cellulose would allow the fuel to be created from rice straw, orchard prunings, wood waste and other materials. A microbiologist working for the U.S. Agriculture Department has experimented with heat-loving bacteria that can break cellulose down more efficiently. Research to make the system commercially workable is moving ahead.Top