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Monday, June 4, 2012
Cotton Plants Getting Ready for the First Irrigation of Season
As we say hello to June and good-by to May, we can certainly look back at a month of near record temperatures – both on the minimum and maximum sides. These yo-yo temperatures played roles in early season decisions for growers of all crops.
First, let me put my weather hat on and review the historical climatological data for the Fresno region from the National Weather Service. Normally, our temperatures average in the 80s (see chart below), steadily rising as we head toward Memorial Day.
As you can see in the temperature chart I put together, May 2012 (the top darker green line) certainly had its ups and downs, including the last week of the month. On May 9, the thermometer officially hit 98 degrees (probably in the 100s in some hot spots), coming close to all-time record high of 101 on that date, which was recorded in 2001.
For cotton growers, who have finished applying fertilizer to their crop, it might be wise to put off their first irrigation of the season until at least Tuesday. Because of crazy temperature swings, the number of heat units hasn’t reached a high enough threshold to make it ideal to start irrigating the cotton.
On the insect front, some fields are experiencing light damage from thrips. But I expect plants to recover from any damage, so there’s a good chance growers won’t have to treat for this pest. On the plus side, the thrips are feeding on the spider mite eggs, which should keep the mite population down. I’m spotting a few more mites in some fields. I suspect that’s due to the relatively dry winter we experienced in the Valley.
Meanwhile, the early review on the alfalfa crop is the yields are looking good. There haven’t been any major pest threats so far. Still I suggest growers keep monitoring for worms.
Save the Date: Remember to put June 12 on your calendar for our Cotton Field Day. We will feature UC IPM advisor Dr. Pete Goodell and UCCE Fresno County cotton specialist Dan Munk. They will offer valuable tips for early season pest and agronomic management during the 10 a.m. to noon event at the Housley and Vandenberg Farm on Sierra Avenue in Firebaugh. Directions are available in the of the Sustainable Cotton Project’s website – www.sustainablecotton.org. One and a half hours of continuing education credits have been approved. Bring your questions.