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 drought.

Pest pressure has been low in cotton so far this season.
“The 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 treatment.

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.

In 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 says.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment