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» March 20, 2008 «
Vineyards throughout the state have started to bloom. All areas of California are reporting the start of the season. A few farmers have initiated frost protection on chilly nights as their vines are developed far enough that they could be damaged. Frost is the only fear farmers have now. At this point in the season rain would be welcome and not cause damage. Growers are hoping for enough irrigation water to produce a crop. Water availability varies from place to place for vineyard farmers.
Citrus growers are having a good season after last year's short crop due to the big freeze. There is a heavy navel orange crop that is holding up well and consumers may be able to purchase California navels in July. The lemon crop is smaller than average, but fruit quality is excellent and consumers will still see ample supplies of California fruit. Likewise farmers say the mandarin crop has excellent quality and volume this year.
University of California researchers are experimenting with controlling the lettuce aphid by attracting a predator to lettuce fields. They hope to bring syrphid flies that feed on the lettuce aphid into the farm fields. It is tricky though as researchers need to have flies present before the lettuce aphids arrive. They are experimenting with various plants to attract the flies before lettuce is planted. The lettuce aphid is a major problem for lettuce farmers.
When driving through the country tourists may notice beef cattle in fields with bright colored ear tags. This is part of a trend by cattle ranchers to keep track of their animals, and also provide a paper trail for the animal identification program. Ranchers record the tag number on their computers. Other ranchers are using implants placed under the skin of the animals to provide information for computers. Modern ranching isn't like it used to be in the Old West.Top