Monday, August 26, 2013

Harvest Time and the Autumn Moon Are Around the Corner

Almonds drying on the ground.
 Shaken almonds are drying on the ground. Thirsty cotton plants are getting their last drink of water.  And growing alfalfa plants are poised for another cutting.

Ah, these are exciting times for growers as we head toward Labor Day weekend and the traditional end of summer. The Harvest Moon is around the corner. Until then, there is still lots of work to do before we put the wraps on the 2013 season.

Growers shaking trees a second time.
Around the Valley, almonds growers are preparing to shake off the remaining almonds in their orchards, says almond field scout Jenna Horine. Jenna points out growers plant at least two different almond varieties for cross pollination and each variety will mature differently – thus an encore tree shaking.

On the pest front, Jenna says more heat and humidity have triggered an increase in mites. But the higher numbers aren’t worrisome at the moment. Growers will just hope their nuts will be OK by the end of harvest.

Alfalfa ready for 5th cutting.
Some alfalfa fields also have experienced a small uptick in pests as well, says field scout Carlos Silva. Beet armyworms, western yellow striped armyworm and alfalfa caterpillars are the main threats in alfalfa now. However, many growers are likely to save the money and skip treatment since the stems are at about 20 inches in height and ready for the fifth cutting of the season.

Carlos reports about half of the cotton plants have open bolls. For bugs, he is finding a lot of beneficial insects such as lady bugs in the fields. Let’s hope these good bugs are hungry enough to keep the bad ones such as whiteflies and aphids in check. 

Cotton bolls are starting to crack open.
Meanwhile, growers are irrigating their fields for the final time as they head toward to back stretch and harvest time. One grower finished irrigating a while back – he had used up his water allocation – and some plants getting dry already. But Dr. Pete Goodell of the U.C. Integrated Pest Management program says a little drying at this point in the season shouldn’t affect yield.

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