Monday, December 16, 2013

Time to Call a Wrap on the 2013 Central Valley Cotton Season

Ag official reminding growers about plowdown deadline.

 It’s time to put a bow on the 2013 cotton season.
There’s only four days left for growers who planted cotton south of Shields Avenue in Fresno County to plow down their harvested fields, according to new Ag Commissioner Les Wright. Any growers that haven’t shredded, uprooted and plowed under the cotton stalks by the Friday, December 20 deadline face a non-compliance find of $500 plus $5 an acre.
Most growers already have plowed down their cotton fields.
Fields north of Shields have until December 31 to meet the plow down requirements, which are aimed at combating the spread of pink bollworm (PBW), a global cotton pest. Plowing down the fields will kill overwintering PBW larvae.
The good news is the Ag Commissioner’s office found no native PWB moths in traps spread across the 62,215 acres of county planted this season in Fresno County. Growers can't plant cotton before March 10, 2014.  For questions about the plow down rules, contact the Ag Commissioners (559) 684-3350.
Pink bollworm larvae. - UC IPM photo
Before we start talking about next year, let’s do one final recap of 2013 with observations from cotton specialist Dr. Pete Goodell of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management program and Dan Munk, a farm advisor and cotton production expert at UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno. 

“It was a pretty good planting season. We got off a crop pretty uniformly. It was a very nice early growing season. There were a warm spring and an early summer,” Goodell said.

“There was a lot more heat this year than in the past year, which may explain some of the later season problems that we had, especially with whiteflies statewide,” he added. Some areas, Goodell said, experienced the worst whitefly issues in 10 to 15 years. Whiteflies, however, weren’t an issue in the Firebaugh area.
Cotton growers dealt with whiteflies.

Lygus problems were moderate around the Valley. The fall harvest saw warm, but not hot temperatures and no rain, which should lead to high quality cotton. Overall, Goodell said, it was an average year for cotton growers.

 Here is Munk’s look back: “This year we had good early planting conditions. The stands established early. There was good, early flowering occurring in mid- to late-June.” That set the stage of early heat units for the crop.

Boll retention was good. Overall, Munk said, “The growers were fairly pleased with the yields that they saw.”

   So it’s time to call a wrap to another year. The Central Valley Field Scout will take a holiday break and return after the New Year. Happy Holidays!

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