Monday, October 10, 2011

Rain Leaves Cleaner Cotton Plants as Growers Prepare for Harvest

The sun is shining. And Indian summer is back in the Northern San Joaquin Valley with high temperatures heading back into the 80s for the rest of this week.

October sure started off with a storm. We had up to 1 inch of rain around the region. On the plus side to cotton growers, the rain helped wash off any dust or sticky honeydew on the plants. Right now, growers don’t expect to have any mold or mildew problems with the fiber.

Kevin Long of Olam Cotton in Fresno tells us that he doesn’t think any fiber quality issues will develop because of the rain. “The sun was out after the rains and additionally there was a nice wind blowing afterwards that would help dry the cotton out. There is a smaller percentage of cotton exposed to the rain now vs. what will be open and exposed three weeks from now.”
Last week's rain across the Valley left fields muddy.

The rain did interrupt work in the cotton fields last week. Now, everything is buzzing again.  Acala growers are ready to harvest their crop and Pima farmers are moving ahead with defoliation.  Around our area, many growers should start picking Acala around mid-week.

As I traveled around Friday, the fields were too muddy for any ground application of defoliants. I saw some planes making aerial applications as growers rushed to take advantage of the warmer weekend weather.

With the later-developing Pima varieties, I expect growers to start defoliating sometime this week. If Mother Nature cooperates, look for the Pima harvest to start the first week of November.

Buses  will shuttle dozens of Cotton Tour participants
directly to the field to meet and talk with cotton growers.

Cotton Tour Coming Up: Here’s another reminder about our annual Cotton Tour on Tuesday, November 8. There’s still room available for the free event, which includes a tasty lunch in downtown Firebaugh. Participants will have an opportunity to meet growers, visit a gin and even pick some cotton. Buses will leave the Best Western Apricot Inn – Interstate 5 and West Panoche Road about 23 miles southwest of Firebaugh – at 8:30 a.m. and return about 4 p.m. Registration is required. Sign up at

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