9-29 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

President Obama signed the ban on July first in response to Iran's nuclear policies. But California farmers could benefit from the political power play.

The U.S. and Iran have been competing for the title of top pistachio producer. Most U.S. pistachios are grown in California, two-thirds are sold overseas. But with the ban on Iranian pistachios in place, the domestic market that's worth about $700-million will go almost exclusively to U.S. growers.

The rice harvest is off to a slow start.

The state farm bureau tells us only a few farmers are harvesting the early varieties. Cooler-than-average weather has slowed crop development.

However, a farm advisor says the cool nights would help to enhance the quality of the rice. Many fields were just blossoming the first of the month and it takes 40 to 50 days after that for the rice to mature for harvest.

California beekeepers are cautiously optimistic that their colonies are going to survive the winter in better shape that they have in years past.

A bee expert with the U.C. extension office told the Central Valley Business Times many colonies actually benefited from last year's nearly seasonal rainfall and produced some honey. Better-fed bees can handle much more adversity than poorly fed bees, but it's too early to predict whether last year's better forage season will reduce colony collapse.

Colony collapse disorder is a mysterious phenomenon where adult bees abandoning their hives. It surfaced in the winter of 2006-2007.

Grape growers and wineries in parts of Santa Clara County will have to follow new rules on how they handle and process grapes.

The European grapevine moth was discovered for the first time in the county. The San Jose Mercury News reports that three of the invasive pests were caught in traps in vineyards on September 15th and 17th. The discovery prompted agriculture officials to issue new restrictions within a 93-square mile area near Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

Santa Clara County's acting agricultural commissioner says growers will have to follow more stringent cleaning rules for grape bins, while wineries will have to crush grapes they receive from growers in the area within two hours.

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