Monday, December 5, 2011

Planting, Growing, Harvesting; Time to Call the Season a Wrap

After eight long months, we can finally call it a wrap on the 2011 cotton season.

Growers have picked the last of the cotton in the fields and are starting to plow down their fields before the December 20 deadline. Some already have prepared their beds for next season, readying their fields for another season of cotton or a rotation crop such as tomatoes. Others have planted winter crops. Generally, growers usually rotate their cotton fields every two years.

At the gins, cotton is still being processed, which could last much of December because of the later harvest as well as the increase in cotton planted this year.

Overall, I’d say yields were good for 2011 – even with the unusual weather we had this season – remember the March rains, cool spring, so-so summer heat and unseasonable early fall rain. In the end, though, growers were able to make up the heat units and effectively used growth regulators to help their yields. I estimate the average yield for Acala was about 2 ¾ bales an acre. One Pima field averaged 3 ¾ bales an acre – anything above 3 bales is good.

On the pest front, lygus and late-season worms were a problem. Biological pest controls were effective and some new soft materials worked well. These pay off in helping the environment and the bottom line for growers. I have to say things are looking up for cotton. Don’t be surprised to see growers planting more acreage in 2012.

Robert Hutmacher
 Speaking of the future, growers will have a great opportunity to learn about cotton varieties coming down the pike. Robert Hutmacher, a noted cotton expert and the director of the University of California Research and Extension Center in Five Points, will discuss cotton variety field trials during a presentation from 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, December 14, at the Firebaugh Community Center, 1655 13th Street.  The talk is free and open to the community. It should be very informative. See you there.

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