Monday, April 20, 2015

Summer-like Spring Weather Spurs Plant Growth in Valley

Whew! Things are certainly heating up in the Valley.

It’s just one month into spring and we’re getting summer-like weather. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised since we had spring-like weather this past winter.

While folks might not welcome the early season 90-degree temperatures, our crops are basking in the sun, As a result, some commodities, like almonds, are developing faster-than-normal due to the temperate weather, almond expert David Doll tells us.
Almonds are developing faster than usual in the Valley.
The well-known pomologist with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Merced County estimates the almond season is about a month ahead, which should translate into an early harvest – barring a sudden change in Mother Nature.

Last year you may recall that growers were harvesting their almonds a couple weeks early thanks to the drought. Well, another dry winter is fueling growth in other crops.

At the same time, the half-inch of rain we had on April 7 also helped give crops a little boost.
Indeed field scout Carlos Silva anticipates alfalfa growers to start their second harvest of the season later this week. In addition, he’s already seeing a number of fields with cotton seedlings already emerging from the ground. For the most part, cotton growers have finished planting around the Valley.
Growers are poised to do their second cutting of alfalfa.

Of course, we’ll have to see how a warm spring plays out on the pest front as well.

Carlos points out that weevils were on the rise in alfalfa. But the pests shouldn’t pose
 a threat with alfalfa ready for the second cutting soon.

In almonds, peach twig borer numbers have been relatively low in orchards. Navel orangeworm counts are up on the Valley’s west side and will merit a close eye. As we mentioned before, leaffooted plant bugs remain a concern for growers. Carlos has seen some nut drop in areas.
Cotton seedlings are starting to emerge.
Monitoring pests in the cotton fields will start ramping up. Carlos plans to begin scouting some of the faster developing fields for pests in the coming week. Let’s hope for a rather uneventful pest year in cotton this season.

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