As the almond and alfalfa season starts to wind down in the Valley, we now turn our attention to the cotton harvest.
The fall is always an exciting time of the year for cotton growers. It’s been a long six months and now they can start reaping the fruits of their labor.
In the northern part of the Valley, harvesters already have been working the fields. “In Dos Palos growers are really going along,” field scout Carlos Silva says about harvest activity in Merced County.
|Cotton plants drying in the sun after they were defoliated.|
“Everything has to fall into line,” Carlos points out about defoliation and harvest timing.
One consideration for growers is the farm’s harvest capacity. As a rule, farm advisors say growers should defoliate just the amount of acreage that can be harvested within 12 days after treatment. That will help cut down lint exposure to poor weather, which can lead to possible pricing discounts due to a lower grade for quality.
|Windy conditions forced one grower to delay defoliation.|
Growers often will use harvest aid chemicals to speed things up. UC IPM cites these reasons: