Monday, November 7, 2016

Back on the Harvesters – Cotton Farmers Will BeThankful When the Season Is Finally Wrapped Up

Cotton harvesters returned to action last week after a brief hiatus because of a nice little soaking from Mother Nature.

But 7 mph early November winds and temperatures returning to the 70s helped dry therain-soaked fiber – although growers had to wait for the infamous Valley fog to lift before firing up the harvesters for a long day in the fields.

Growers waited for the fog to lift before resuming harvest.
“On Monday and Tuesday (last week) the fields were being picked again,” reports field scout Carlos Silva. “I’ve seen people working into the night.”

In one field in the Firebaugh area, one grower brought in three pickers to work the field. 

“We’re getting close for things to start to wrap up.”  The remaining fields should be picked over the next couple weeks – in time for growers to be thankful for the end of another cotton season before Thanksgiving.

Overall, California cotton growers are expecting solid season despite the state’s five-year drought and ongoing challenge over water availability.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service Pacific Region predicts acala-upland production to be 235,000 bales, up 43 percent from 2015. Harvested acreage is predicted to be up 41 percent to 65,000 acres. For pima, production is forecast at 484,000 bales, up 32 percent from 2015. Harvested acreage is predicted to be up 32 percent to 153,000 acres.

USDA predicts an increase in cotton production this year.
While cotton is no longer king in California agriculture, it is far from being banished from the state’s royal court of crops. Kudos to a dedicated group of Valley farmers who have remained committed to growing the fiber, especially during these unprecedented dry times.

 In recapping the season, Carlos says growers overall had a fairly good year on the pest front. “Pest problems were definitely lower than last year.” Of course, there were some reports of farmers who experienced lygus, whitefly and aphid issues, but the problems didn’t appear to be widespread.

 In fact, a few growers told Carlos they didn’t even treat their fields for pests the entire season. “When you hear growers didn’t spray all season then things are pretty good.” We’ll second that.

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