Monday, September 5, 2016

It’s No Time to Rest for Valley Farmers This Labor Day

It may be Labor Day, but it’s no day off for Valley farmers.

Field scout Jenna Mayfield and Carlos Silva report the almond orchards and cotton and alfalfa fields are abuzz with activity. 

The almond harvest continues with shakers rattling trees, nuts drying on the ground and sweepers picking up the crop. Alfalfa growers are starting to cut their crop again with the season expected to last into the fall.
Alfalfa growers expect to harvest into the fall this season.

Then there’s cotton.  The crop has been at cutout, which means 95 percent of the cotton bolls are mature and terminal growth has ended. This is the final stage before the bolls open up.
Determining the dates of cutout is important in identifying the final group of productive bolls. This group of bolls helps growers map out end-of the-season plans.

Carlos reports about 75 percent of the fields that he tracks have open bolls. 

September is an exciting time with defoliation and then harvest around the corner.
Cotton has reached the cutout stage.
On the pest front, Carlos reports more aphids are showing up in the cotton fields. In fact, a couple fields are experiencing heavy mite pressure and these growers may have to start thinking about pest treatment.

Carlos says one alfalfa grower harvested his field last week. Another has started irrigating again with another cutting looming later this month. “It looks pretty good. Growers will be getting a whole season in this year.
FIELD DAY ALERT: Speaking of alfalfa, growers are invited to hear Merced County Deputy Agricultural Commissioner Sean Runyon talk about new pesticide regulations for crops, worker safety and protection for schools during a September 22 field day in Dos Palos. 

The free program,  “Alfalfa Management: Pests, Water, Manure Use and Regulatory Update,” will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Scout Hut, 1910 Marguerite Street, Dos Palos.
 Other speakers are:
·         UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management extension advisor Dr. Pete Goodell, who will introduce growers and PCAs to the national and UC pest management tools and discuss the important IPM during the past year.
·         University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension specialist Dan Putnam. He will discuss irrigation issues facing growers and trends in deficit and drip irrigation.
·         Nicholas Clark, UCCE farm advisor in agronomy and nutrient management for Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties. He will address the benefits and challenges of using manure in alfalfa and explain timing, best uses and application rates.
Continuing education credits have been applied for. The field day is sponsored by the San Joaquin Sustainable Farm Project. For more information, contact Project Director Marcia Gibbs at (530) 370-5325.

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