Welcome to our Ag Blog. Our field scouts will offer a unique ground-level perspective from the field to you as an independent field scout with the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project. Our mission is to promote sustainable farming systems throughout the Central Valley and provide you with the latest information about cotton, almond and alfalfa crops. From time to time, you'll also find guest posts from our project team and other contributors. This Blog is edited by Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Growers Deal with Heat, Fast-Developing Almonds
Mother Nature certainly is putting
the heat on almond growers.
First, growers are facing another
week of oppressive triple-digit temperatures while trying to protect against
Second: Growers are dealing with a
crop that is developing faster than normal because of the dry and unprecedented
warm winter weather.
As a result, growers are moving
quickly to prepare for the upcoming harvest: clearing the orchard floor of
debris and wrapping up hull split treatments.
Growers are finishing up their hull split treatments right now.
“Growers are getting the orchard
floods clean for shaking. They are making sure any ants are treated,” field
scout Jenna Horine reports.
The drought conditions and super hot
weather is triggering some worries about mite problems. Jenna says mite
problems are usually concentrated in certain parts of the orchard – often near
dusty roads where workers are driving fast and kicking up dust or in
Growers need to find a balance in irrigation schedules.
Right now, growers working to find a
good balance with their irrigation schedules. This can be tricky because
watering too much can trigger tree diseases, increase the chances of shaker
damage and even push back shaking. On the other hand, under irrigating
increases mites and decreases kernel weight.
Almond expert David Doll of UC Cooperative Extension in Merced County
advises growers to maintain the irrigation frequency, but make adjustments on
the amount of watering time. He offers a helpful irrigation strategy covering
the period from hull split to after the harvest in a
2012 Almond Doctor blog.
In the fields, field scout Carlos Silva says some growers
will start their fourth alfalfa cutting this week. A number are telling us that
they should have enough water for a fifth harvest. That’s good news considering
many thought earlier this spring they would have only enough water for two or
maybe three cuttings this entire season.
With lots of lygus in the alfalfa,
it’s important growers to strip cut their fields to keep the pests from
traveling into nearby cotton fields.
Currently lygus counts are low in
the cotton fields, with the plants averaging 15 mainstem nodes. Square
retention remains good.
Field Day Alert: Check out this Wednesday’s Cotton
Field Day from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at
the Crivelli Farm, 13985 S. Palm, Dos Palos. UC Integrated Pest Management
advisor Dr. Pete Goodell, Fresno County UC Cooperative Extension cotton
specialist Dan Munk and Bob Hutmacher, cooperative extension specialist with
the Westside Research and Extension Center, will offer valuable tips and
insights about this year’s crop. They will cover issues such as crop-damaging pests,
deficit irrigation, Race 4 Fusarium disease, early pima defoliation and
fertilizer and irrigation management in a drought year. Directions are
available in the events section
of the Sustainable Cotton Project’s website –www.sustainablecotton.org. Continuing
education credits, including hours for nutrient, IPM and water management, will
be available. See everyone there.