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» July 31, 2007 «
Almond harvest has started in Kern County. Early varieties are also maturing further north in the San Joaquin Valley and farmers there anticipate starting harvest operations by the end of this week. Government forecasts predict a record harvest, and growers are eager to get the work done. The harvest is much earlier than last year when it didn't begin until August 22. But this year is considered an early average start year.
It is now believed the yellow leaf curl virus got into an Imperial County high school greenhouse on white flies blown in from Mexico. That's what a group of researchers told a San Diego news conference. The virus threatens a number of plants, but it can really reduce tomato production. Thus far it has not been found in any other California county, and agricultural commissioners and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are conducting an active outreach program in other counties to curtail its spread.
Another case of equine West Nile virus has been reported in Kern County, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. That raises to five the number of cases reported this year. Based on the experiences in other states where the virus turned up earlier, veterinarians expected the number of cases to decline this year. However, they continue to urge horse owners to have their animals vaccinated. So far none of the five horses infected this year has died.
Yet another disease problem has been identified for beekeepers. Researchers say the microbe that causes American foulbrood disease has mutated. The bacterium has become immune to the antibiotic used to treat bees. The researchers say the resistance is spreading rapidly in the microbe population. American foulbrood is so serious that infected colonies must be burned, an extremely costly option for beekeepers. The search for a substitute antibiotic continues.Top