Monday, March 14, 2016

We’re Springing Forward With Another Growing Season

Spring is just around the corner. Here in farm country, spring marks the traditional start of the growing season in the Valley.

After a brief hiatus, field scouts Carlos Silva and Jenna Mayfield started to gear up last week for another year working with almond, cotton and alfalfa growers in the Central Valley. 
In recent days, they have been connecting with growers to participate in the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project (SJSFP) this season. A program of the Sustainable Cotton Project, SJSFP is launching a new three-year program to work with Valley growers to promote sustainable farming practices to protect local watersheds, improve air quality and support our rural communities.

New initiatives include working with Project ApisM on pollinator issues and educating growers about ways to improve their water conservation practices. Unless El Niño brings Noah Arc-like rains this spring, California won’t be able to make up for the four previous dry years and bring an end to the severe drought. Stay tuned for future post about bees and water conservation.

In the meantime, Carlos and Jenna will be collaborating with participating growers to map out fields and orchards that they will be scouting this season. They also will help arrange the first Field Day of the year for growers. We’re looking at March 30 for the meeting. Look for more details soon.

It will be interesting to see how the El Niño rains will affect this year’s growing season. Remember how many growers last year had to make a number of hard economic choices – whether it was investing heavily in digging a well, sacrificing one crop over another due to the lack of water or fallowing acres after acres of fertile land.

In the orchards, we’re starting to see some greening emerging in early varieties.
Carlos reports alfalfa appears to be growing nicely, with the crop around 12 to 14 inches tall. The first cutting of the season will arrive soon after the alfalfa reaches a couple feet in height.

Cotton plants grew quickly during dry times last  April 2015.
In cotton, growers will be holding off planting until the rains start to subside and the temperatures begin warming. Because of the skimpy rain in recent years, it was no joke to find growers planting seeds on April Fool’s Day.

Well, it should be another exciting season. Carlos and Jenna will keep us updated on the latest happening from the fields. At the same time, we will once again offer you valuable insights from leading experts throughout the year.

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