Monday, October 6, 2014

From Seed to Fiber - It's Been a Long Journey for Cotton

 It has been six months since growers planted the seeds for the 2014 cotton crop in the San Joaquin Valley.

With fall now here, we can officially say the harvest season is upon us. A few growers already have started running their harvesters, earning the recognition as one of the first farms to harvest cotton in the region.
Of course, every farm is at a difference stage. Field scout Carlos Silva points out that some growers have finished defoliating their fields and are now waiting for the plants to dry out. Others are still waiting to start the process.
Cotton defoliation is well under way in the Valley.

For growers this is the most exciting and hectic time of the year. They can finally see the fruits of their labor. However, they won’t relax until their cotton is off to the gin. Then they can look back and say they survived a trying year marked by tight water supplies and a big drop in acreage – both due to the drought. No one ever said farming is easy.

The alfalfa season lasted longer than anticipated in 2014.
Meanwhile, alfalfa growers have finished harvesting their crop. Carlos hasn’t seen any fields being irrigated so far. That could be a sign we’ve seen the last of alfalfa for the season – which isn’t surprising for this time of year. 

Of course, having a fairly normal alfalfa growing season is quite an achievement in 2014. Many thought they would run out of water at the start of summer and call it quits in June. Every cutting after that proved to be a bonus this year.

Here’s a final alert for growers about Tuesday’s Almond Field Day. Get some valuable post harvest management tips from UCCE Merced’s David Doll and UCCE Fresno’s Gurrett Brar from 10 a.m. to noon in Los Banos.  The event will be conducted at the corner of Mercy Springs Road and Cotton Gin Road. Continuing education and CCA credits will be available. For more information, contact Project Director Marcia Gibbs at (530) 370-5325 or

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