|Keep your speed down when driving on a dirt road.|
|Lygus bug found in an alfalfa field.|
So here’s the hitch: Alfalfa is harvested many times during the season – on average about once of month. That means lygus can be on the move roughly every 30 days.
Dr. Pete Goodell, a UC IPM advisor and cotton and alfalfa expert, says a good solution to stem the migration of lygus to neighboring cotton fields is to leave uncut strips of alfalfa during harvest. Lygus will travel to these strips and stay there until the next irrigation cycle. The bugs will then go back to the larger alfalfa field as the plants start growing again.
Right now, alfalfa growers have finished their second cutting of the season and have been irrigating the crop. The next harvest should come around the end of May. Goodell tells us that leaving uncut strips is vital from June to July because that time period is a critical stage for cotton development.
UC IPM offers these tips about border-strip strip harvesting: “Leave 10 to 14 foot wide uncut strips adjacent to every other irrigation border (or levee).
|Here's an uncut strip of alfalfa next to a cotton field.|
“This technique minimizes quality problems from the older hay. Specific blends of old and new hay have been found not to significantly impact forage quality compared to 100 percent new growth alfalfa in most cases.”