Monday, August 10, 2015

Cotton Bolls Reaching Maturity at Cutout Time in the Valley

 There comes a time when everything matures and stops growing.

 For people, growth can stop in high school or even college – whether it’s a 5-foot tall Olympic gymnast or 7-foot-5 pro basketball player.

For cotton, it’s when plants are at three to five Nodes Above White Flower (NAWF). We call it cutout, a time with cotton bolls are mature and about 95 percent of the crop has been set. Cutout is the final stage before the boll cracks open. It’s an important barometer for growers because cutout provides a good indication about the cotton yield during harvest time. (Of course, there are still a lot of things to worry about that can affect the ultimate fiber output by fall.)
Cotton bolls in fields across the Valley are reaching maturity.

Field scout Carlos Silva reports many fields are at cutout. “The fruit is looking really good,” he says.

On the pest front, growers can stop monitoring for lygus bugs about 10 days after cutout. That leaves spider mites, aphids and whitefly as the major pest threats to the cotton crop. So far, Carlos is finding some aphids and the emergence of whitefly in the fields this past week. But the bugs appear under control for now.

So how to you measure Nodes Above White Flower? Here’s what UC IPM says:
  • Select a minimum of 5 plants with a first-position flower from each of four different areas in the field.
  • Count the node with a first-position flower as zero and move toward the terminal.
  • Record the total nodes above white flower for all of the samples.
  • Record the number of plants sampled.
  • Divide the total number of nodes by the total number of plants sampled.
If the terminal node has a leaf associated with it of at least 1 inch in diameter, consider it a new node, UC IPM says. Happy counting.

Meanwhile, Carlos says cotton growers have been irrigating their fields. Alfalfa is growing back with another harvest coming up in a couple weeks.

Field Scout Jenna Horine says the almond harvest is in full swing. She’s starting to take samples from the orchard floor before the nuts are swept up and taken to the huller. Later this year, Jenna will be cracking the samples to inspect them for damage.
Leaffooted bugs are rarely in almonds this time of year.

One interesting note on the pest front: Jenna reports found some leaffooted bugs in one almond orchard – a very unusual discovery.  UC IPM describes the bug as “an infrequent pest in almonds.” 

Moreover, the leaffooted bug usually migrates into almond orchards during the early spring, looking for developing nuts to munch on while the shells are soft.Jenna suspects the pest may have migrated from a nearby grape vineyard being prepped for harvest.

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