Monday, May 7, 2012

Cotton Season in Full Swing as the Valley's Weather Heats Up

 April showers are history. Triple-digit temperatures will soon be here – possibly as soon as next week. That means cotton season is in full swing. There are only 26 or so weeks until harvest.

Here's a disease-infected seedling.
- UC IPM photo
Around the Valley, cotton seedlings are popping up nicely because of the ideal warm weather we have been experiencing in our Valley.

The germination rate is good. So far, I haven’t heard much about early season disease problems.

In surveying the emerging cotton fields, I’ve seen good stand development. Insects, plant pathogens or poor weather or soil temperatures during planting can cause weak stand establishment. If growers see weak stands, they need to look for any pests by digging around the soil of the damaged plants. Check the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management web site for more information about assessing stand establishment.
One of our habitats of  young mustard, corn and sunflowers. 

The natural habitats we planted last month at some of the participating SJSFP fields are progressing well. Already, I’ve seen some of the beneficial insects such as ladybugs around the emerging mustard plants. That bodes well for our effort to use biological controls to keep crop-damaging pests at bay and reduce the use of pesticides.

Keep a close watch for lygus.
- UC IPM photo
Around the alfalfa fields, growers have wrapped up irrigating their crop. They’re almost ready for the second cutting. I’ve seeing aphids and lygus numbers going up. I’m suggesting growers continue to monitor these pests. So far, the early season is looking good.

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