Agriculture briefs

The nation’s farm exports are projected to climb more than 50 percent during a five-year period ending in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Farm exports will rise from $96 billion in 2009 to an estimated $145 billion next year.

The exports support more than 1 million U.S. jobs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement that the numbers show American agriculture is booming. He attributed some of the gains to the Obama administration’s success in removing trade barriers and helping businesses reach new foreign markets.

“Demand for products like American soybeans, wheat and tree nuts is surging across the world, with notable gains in China, Europe and Southeast Asia expected to support strong cash receipts,” Vilsack said.

Davis joins study of wheat genome string

UC Davis scientists are taking part in a U.S.-European effort to identify the genome sequence of bread wheat in order to develop varieties with higher yields and more nutritional content.

Findings from the work, funded by government and other institutions in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Germany, was reported last week in the journal Nature.

“This work moves us one step closer to a comprehensive and highly detailed genome sequence for bread wheat, which along with rice and maize is one of the three pillars on which the global food supply rests,” said UC plant sciences professor Jan Dvorak, a study co-author.

Scientists, he said, must develop higher-yielding varieties of those three cereals in order to feed a world population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050 from 7 billion today.

Citrus pest a threat

Another tiny pest capable of carrying and spreading a disease deadly to citrus trees has been found in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s citrus belt.

The state Department of Food and Agriculture announced last week that an Asian citrus psyllid was discovered near Terra Bella in Tulare County. The psyllid was identified last month on a trap in a citrus grove.

It’s the third psyllid found this year in the San Joaquin Valley. The first was discovered in February and the second in October, both in Tulare. As a result of the recent discoveries, a quarantine would be instituted for the area, said department spokesman Steve Lyle.

A number of other psyllids have been found in Southern California, but none of those pests have tested positive for the deadly bacteria known by its Chinese name Huanglongbing, also called citrus greening.

The disease has decimated the citrus sector in Florida and other parts of the world.

-- Compiled from staff and wire reports. Submit items to robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com

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