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Excessive Rainfall May Damage Wheat

Blessed with abundant rainfall, farmers working the dryland fields west of Spokane were hoping for a record wheat crop this year.

But the curses of too much wet weather - mildew, blotch, rust and other pathogens - could reduce yields by up to 20 percent, a scientist warned Wednesday.

“Farmers are very concerned,” said Diana Roberts, area extension agent for Washington State University Cooperative Extension. “They’re faced with making a $20,000 decision.”

That’s about how much it would cost to hire a cropduster to spray a 1,000-acre farm, Roberts said.

Roberts has scheduled a 9 a.m. workshop today at the Memorial Hall in Davenport, Wash., to help farmers decide whether to fight the pathogens with chemicals or other means.

“It’s been cool and wet all spring, and that’s excellent breeding ground for fungi,” Roberts said.

, DataTimes

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Early exit polls show strong support to lift Ireland ban on abortion

UPDATED: 3:05 p.m.

Ireland’s referendum Friday represented more than a vote on whether to end the country’s strict abortion ban. It was a battle for the very soul of a traditionally conservative Roman Catholic nation that has seen a wave of liberalization in recent years.