Ag Report - 2/24/11

FRESNO, Calif.

Scientists have mapped the genome of the wild strawberry. They hope it will help farmers produce better berries than with traditional plant breeding.

Scientists say strawberry breeders will likely use the genetic map to develop berries with a longer shelf life or plants that produce more berries at a lower cost. But farmers say the map probably won't be used to its full potential because people are still hesitant about eating genetically modified foods.

The weather is worrying central valley almond growers.

Trees have already started to bloom. Sunny weather aided the early pollination process, but rain the third week of February and a predicted cold storm later this week have growers concerned. Once pollinated, almonds cannot withstand temperatures below 30 degrees.

Marketers say they need about one billion pounds of almonds each year to satisfy world demand.

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