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» October 19, 2007 «
Winegrape growers who still have fruit in their vineyards have crews working fast to harvest before predicted rain moves in later today (Friday). Growers in Napa and Sonoma counties have about 10 percent of the crop remaining to be harvested, but most are varieties that withstand some rain. The Allied Grape Growers organization reports some chardonnay grapes remain on the vines in Monterey County, and says they would be more vulnerable to rain damage.
The "grannies" are finished but the Pink Ladies remain in California apple orchards. The California Apple Commission says farmers continue to pick the Pink Lady variety. The Granny Smith, Gala and Fuji varieties have all been picked for this year. The commission reports good demand for California-grown Gala apples. But the Granny Smith and Fuji varieties bumped up against large supplies of Chilean-grown apples in foreign markets, and that slowed demand for California fruit.
A bee specialist says only one thing seems certain about the mysterious "colony collapse disorder" attacking bee colonies: It seems unlikely that there will be a single, new and different reason that explains it. University of California bee expert Eric Mussen says malnutrition, linked to drought, appears to be one factor. Exotic viruses may also be attacking bees. Mussen says attention about the bee die-off has led to additional research that could provide more answers.
Carefully placed screens can effectively protect greenhouse plants from pests. But a farm advisor says farmers must consider a number of factors in determining how and where to use the screens. For example, different mesh sizes would be needed to screen against insects of different sizes. Screens can also affect air circulation in greenhouses, so growers may need to add fans or take other steps to compensate.Top