Monday, April 13, 2015

Cotton, Baseball Seasons Move Ahead in Lock Step

Pro baseball is in the air and the local Fresno Grizzlies minor league team opened its season on Thursday. 

Yes, springtime also spawns optimism among fans and players that they will have a successful year.

Cotton and baseball are off to a marathon start to the season.
You might say the same is true for cotton growers, who also start their season in April. And like baseball, their season resembles a marathon rather than a sprint. Both starting in the spring and end in the fall.
In baseball, there’s the first pitch. In cotton, there’s the first seeds in the ground.

Field scout Carlos Silva reports some early bird growers are benefitting by the early spring warm weather. They should start seeing seedlings popping out of the ground soon. Typically it takes 180 to 200 days for cotton to go from seed to full maturity.

Just like baseball fans, growers look at the spring as a fresh start, feeling optimistic they’ll have a winning crop six months from now – even in a drought.

Cotton planting is in full swing in the Central Valley.
Speaking of drought, Carlos says many long-time cotton growers are continuing to stick with the crop, despite the four straight dry years. Still, we wouldn’t be surprised if there is another decline in cotton acreage in 2015. Last year, the drought prompted California growers to reduce acreage by 23 percent to about 215,000 acres. 

While cotton season is just under way, alfalfa is moving along nicely with growers completing their first cutting of the year. We’re hoping the water supplies will hold up enough for growers to continue harvests into the fall.

 On the pest front, weevils have been under control so far, according to Carlos. Blue alfalfa aphids have been on the rise, but the number remain below the threshold to treat the fields.

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