Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Around the Cotton Growing Season in 180 Days

For the next six months during the cotton-growing season, I’ll be giving you my view from the ground around the San Joaquin Valley.

First True leaf of cotton seedling.
Well, it’s nice to see cotton plants finally emerging. I’ve seen seedlings of 1 to 2 inches. The crop emergence is good all around with stands uniform with few skips. I expect to start seeing plants entering the first true leaf stage this week.

 To determine if your crops is growing satisfactory, check out the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management website about assessing stand development.

 In the past week, a number of growers turned their attention to making sure the cotton beds retain moisture.

The windy weather late last week – with gusts of up to 35 mph – had growers concerned about the ground drying and causing surface cracks.  I saw growers rolling their cotton beds to seal any cracks and create a moisture barrier.  Water is always a precious commodity around here. With diesel prices hovering around $4.50 a gallon in the Valley, some growers are monitoring their fields for the time being and waiting before the right time to roll their beds.

UC IPM photo by Jack Kelly Clark
At this time, everyone is keeping an eye out for any signs of seedling diseases such as Pythium disease. UC IPM also offers information about  seedling diseases.

 On the bug front, I haven’t seen signs of worm pressure in the cotton fields after the first cutting of alfalfa this season. This week, growers should keep an eye out for worms and mites. So far, so good.

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