Welcome to our Ag Blog. Our field scouts will offer a unique ground-level perspective from the field to you as an independent field scout with the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project. Our mission is to promote sustainable farming systems throughout the Central Valley and provide you with the latest information about cotton, almond and alfalfa crops. From time to time, you'll also find guest posts from our project team and other contributors. This Blog is edited by Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.
Monday, August 15, 2016
A Light Pest Year Can Translate into Good Yield, Money Savings & Greener Environment in the Valley
Farmers will tell you every growing season is
different. Some years are good. Some are average. And some are poor.
This year is no different.In this case, the news is good on the pest
front – a welcome development after enduring year after year of news about the
Pest pressure has been low in cotton so far this season.
pest populations have been under control this season,” reports field scout
Carlos Silva. In fact, some cotton growers tell him “they haven’t had to spray
(for pests) all year.”
While Carlos has spotted his share of bad bugs in
alfalfa and cotton fields this season, their populations have been in check for
the most part, usually falling under the threshold that UC IPM sets for
Why has this season been different than past
seasons? It’s hard to say.
“There are good years and there are bad years for
pests,” Carlos said. “Sometimes you get lucky.”
The bottom line for growers: less money spent on
chemicals, fewer headaches about crop damage and a cleaner environment.
Practicing BMPs can lead to fewer pest problems.
Almond field scout Jenna Mayfield agrees. But
she adds it’s not all luck when pest pressures are low in orchards. Growers who
diligently follow best management practices put the odds in their favor.
“It’s been a pretty uneventful year,” Jenna says
about pest problems in almonds.
“Our growers are on top of things,” Jenna says.
“They’re following their best management practices.”Taking steps such as cleaning up their
orchards and removing mummy nuts during the winter will go along way toward
avoiding pest issues down the road.
the meantime, Jenna reports almond growers have finished shaking their
nonpareil varieties off the trees. The nuts continue to dry on the ground,
waiting to be swept up and hauled off to the hullers soon. “The biggest concern
is ants. Growers want to get the nuts picked up as soon as they can,” Jenna
In the field, many alfalfa growers are irrigating
again, preparing for another harvest in a few weeks. Carlos is keeping an eye
out for worms and spotted alfalfa aphids – but no real problems have surfaced.
Growers are irrigating alfalfa for the next cutting.
Cotton plants are flourishing and flush with bolls.
Lygus bugs aren’t a problem, but there are some whitefly and aphids turning up.
Those could be a problem down the road when the bolls open up. We will have to
wait and see. Carlos says cutout is still a few weeks away. In cutout, the
plant is in the final stage of growth before the boll opens up. It occurs when
new terminal growth ends and the plant is at three nodes above white bloom.