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» June 16, 2008 «
Crop damage due to drought conditions in the San Joaquin Valley has already exceeded $170 million in Fresno and Kern counties alone. The amount of crops that might be salvaged because of the governor's emergency declaration depends on how quickly additional water can be provided to growers. Cotton and processing tomatoes appear to be the crops most likely to be lost. PG&E is reportedly expediting installation of electric power to pumps on newly drilled wells, which would provide some additional water.
The Humboldt fire in Butte County is only 15 percent contained and has destroyed several homes and more than 20,000 acres. It continues to damage rangeland and fences and ranchers will feel the loss of the forage particularly hard this year, as the price of hay is extremely high. Most cattle had been moved to summer pasture prior to the fire, although one truckload of cows and calves weren't moved until Friday. They were, however, safely transported to summer range.
California-grown strawberries will be exported to China for the Olympic games. The California Strawberry Commission says they've been working for two years to obtain the necessary approvals from the Chinese government. The fruit may be shipped to China during the July to September period when the games are under way and the shippers have a list of procedures to follow for Chinese acceptance of the strawberries. It is hoped that the Chinese will continue to allow California-grown strawberries into the country after the games conclude.
Natural bacterial extracts may soon offer assistance to peach and pecan growers in treating fungal diseases. Brown rot in peaches and pecan scab are now treated with chemicals, but research scientists discovered bacteria were effective against pecan and peach disease organisms. The treatments reduce spore formation similar to levels as chemical fungicides. Bacteria have never been used to control diseases in these two commodities before and are a safe effective alternative to chemicals.Top