Monday, November 12, 2012

Almost Time to Sew Up Another Cotton Season in the Valley

Growers were harvesting an average of 3 to 4 bales of cotton per acre.

 More than 180 days ago, San Joaquin Valley growers planted the seeds for a new cotton crop with visions of a profitable year. Now over 4,300 hours later, growers are reaping a bountiful harvest.

I’m seeing most growers coming away with an average of 3 to 4 bales of cotton per acre in their fields. One acala cotton grower generated an eye-popping five bales an acre.

Cotton module is ready to be picked up and taken to the gin.
Usually, getting three bales an acre is considered a good harvest. Four bales is a great crop. How would I describe five bales? Amazing!

Gins are busy processing the cotton.
Overall, growers are reporting a solid year as we pretty much wind down the 2012 cotton  season. Acala growers wrapped up their picking about a week ago. The later-maturing pima variety is still out there with growers picking cotton for a second time. Growers were hurrying with their final picking before the rains arrived at the end of last week.

The warm weather and pretty dry October (as well as fewer foggy mornings) have played roles in getting the cotton harvest done before Thanksgiving. Overall, growers are happy with the 2012 yield.

Bales of cotton are loaded and ready to be shipped out.
On the bug front this year, growers saw pest pressure yo-yo from low early to high late in the season. For the most part, the pests didn’t lead to substantial crop damage.

As the final cotton is picked, the last task for growers will be to plow under their fields to protect against the pink bollworm. Two years ago, heavy rain storms created muddy field conditions and forced growers to race to meet the state-imposed deadline. Some county ag commissioners had to extend the deadline because of the weather.

 Around here, some acala growers have already plowed down their fields and even prepared the beds for next season. With this year a wrap, there’s only five more months till the first seeds are planted.

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