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» May 8, 2007 «
The presence of light brown apple moth in eight Northern California counties means an extra scramble for nursery operators working to ship plants prior to Mother's Day. Nursery plants and flowers are among the top crops in several of the affected counties, and final shipments for Mother's Day must be made in the next day or two. Government inspectors must certify farms and nurseries as free of the apple moth. In some cases, individual shipments must be inspected.
The nation's largest farm organization says restoring agricultural border inspections to the U.S. Agriculture Department would better protect against more invasive pests and diseases. The American Farm Bureau said yesterday (Monday) it supports a bill by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, to return the inspections to USDA. Border inspections were moved to the Department of Homeland Security five years ago, but farm groups say the Agriculture Department is best equipped to do the job.
A spell of 90-degree temperatures should cause little trouble for North Coast vineyards. Winegrape farmers say their crops haven't reached the stage of development where unseasonable heat might be a problem. But the warm weather may hasten the timing of the first irrigation, and water availability may be a concern later this summer. Predictions point to tight irrigation supplies for many North Coast vineyards.
Most California pasture and rangeland has deteriorated to poor or very poor condition, according to the year's first official report. Lack of rain has dried pastures, forcing livestock owners to move their animals, supplement their feed or sell them early. More than 80 percent of California rangelands were classified "poor" or "very poor." By contrast, most pastures were considered in good or excellent condition at the same time a year ago.Top