Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cotton Season Turns with the August Winds in the Valley

Times are a changing in the cotton fields.

It’s mid-August now. To growers, this is the month of change for cotton. The hearty green and lush plants are shifting from making fruit to maturing and opening of the bolls, says Dr. Pete Goodell of UC Integrated Pest Management. Growers are making plans for the final irrigation before preparing for the fall harvest.

 Carlos Silva  started monitoring the node above white (or yellow) flower (NAWF) to mark when cutout takes place. Cut-out is the plant shifts from vegetative to reproductive status.

During his scouting visits to fields last week, Carlos found plants to be more than halfway there to cut-out. (not sure when you mean, half the fields or al plants are 10 NAWF? Work with Carlos to get this right In fact, he even spotted a few open bolls on the bottom part of some plants.

When the plant has 3 (for Pima) or 5 (for Acala) NAWF, 95 percent of the yield has been set and new terminal growth has stopped. Growers can stop checking for lygus10 days after cut-out because bolls aren’t threatened by lygus bug damage 10 days after flowering.

Here’s what UC IPM says about measuring for cut-out:

  •      Pick at least five plants with a first-position flower bolls from four different areas in a field.
  •      Count the node with the first-position flower zero, and move toward the terminal.
  •      Write down the total NAWF for each sample.
  •     List the number of plants sampled.
  •       Divide the total number of nodes by the total number of plants sampled.

 Check UC IPM for more tips online about monitoring cotton plant growth and how to measure NAWF.

Good prices may prompt growers to irrigate for 1 more cutting.
Meanwhile, Carlos says pests are under control in cotton, but reminds growers to keep vigilant, especially with aphids and whiteflies coming into the picture as threats in the coming weeks.

Alfalfa growers are starting to harvest their crop and look for cutting to be in full swing this week.
The USDA reported Thursday that California has harvested 930,000 acres of alfalfa with an average yield of seven tons so far in 2014 – up 30,000 acres and .20 tons from a year ago. More importantly, prices fetched by growers in the Central San Joaquin Valley, which includes Fresno and Madera counties, are coming in at $375 to $380 a ton for supreme and $334 for premium alfalfa – the highest rate in California and among the strongest in the nation. Strong prices could be an incentive for growers to invest one more time in irrigation water and go for one more cutting of quality alfalfa next month.

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