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» April 26, 2007 «
Using military technology that screens rapidly for pathogens, researchers say they've identified a virus and a parasite that may be causing the collapse of honeybee colonies around the country. Scientists at a military research facility and the University of California, San Francisco, reported their findings yesterday (Wednesday). A U.S. Agriculture Department working group will decide the next steps to take. Problems for bees affect many crops that depend on them for pollination.
Numbers of an invasive pest called the light brown apple moth continue to increase. State officials say a total of 282 moths have been trapped so far, in eight Northern California counties. The exotic insect attacks hundreds of crops but so far, it has not reached into farming areas. U.S. trading partners have been advised of the finds, but other nations have raised import bans on California crops, to date.
Winegrapes up and down California are off to a good start this spring, following a winter in which vineyards received more than enough chill hours during dormancy. A Paso Robles winegrape grower reports that development of leaves and shoots on Central Coast vines looks very good. Farmers have been grafting vineyards to shift them to winegrape varieties that remain in high demand from wineries, such as pinot noir and pinot gris.
It's said to be the first of its kind in the Western United States, and the organic dairy teaching facility at California State University, Chico, will be dedicated today (Thursday). Supervisors say the dairy aims to provide students with hands-on learning experience in organic livestock production. The university has operated a traditional dairy farm since the 1960s and has now successfully transitioned to organic production.Top