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, March 20, 2017
Counting the Degrees to Find the Best Time for Planting Cotton in the Central Valley
Drive around the Valley and you’ll see future cotton
fields in waiting
the fields are ready. The rows are ready,” says field scout Carlos Silva. “I’ve
even seen some pre-irrigation.”
Some cotton growers have started to pre-irrigate their fields.
Certainly, the recent string of sunny, warm
spring-like days (How did everyone like the near-90 degree weather last week?)
certainly put growers in the mood for planting the seeds for another cotton
On paper, March 10 was the first official day that
San Joaquin Valley growers could plant cotton. That date marks the end of the
90-day host-free period for the pink bollworm control
program. Of course, that date usually isn’t a realistic start time.
Carlos believes the first planting could come at the
end of March or early April. Right now, growers are checking the weather
forecasts, measuring the temperatures and working on calculations.
Growers have prepared fields for this year's cotton season.
course, Mother Nature will have a big say. While today marks the first day of
spring, the weather forecast this week is more winter like. Predictions call
for a few days of rain and cooler 60-degree temperatures this week.
“If growers see any rain in the forecast, they are
likely to hold off planting,” Carlos says.
When is the best time to plant?
Here’s what UC IPM says: “To determine the best
planting date to establish a healthy stand, use a 5-day forecast of accumulated
degree-days (heat units) and on-site soil temperature readings. Good stand
establishment requires sufficiently warm air (measured in heat units) and
suitable field soil temperatures.” Growers can use UC IPM’s Cotton Planting
Forecast online site plus soil temperatures until an optimal
planting date is determined.
“Cotton seed requires approximately 50 degree-days
to accumulate in order to emerge when planted at an optimum planting depth. It
is also important that temperatures be consistently warm and don't drop during
the first 5 days after planting,” UC IPM adds.
FIELD DAY: Almond growers will learn about honey bee
health and receive valuable disease, fungicide and pest management tips at a
March 28 field day. The free event will be from 10 a.m.
to noon at the Cook Orchard, 15640 Avenue 22 1/2, Chowchilla.David Doll, a Merced County UCCE pomologist,
will review bloomtime diseases found in almonds, chemical treatments, including
the proper selection of fungicides and nitrogen applications. Florent
Trouillas, UCCE fruit and nut specialist at the UC Kearny Ag Center, will
explain the complexities of many wood cankers found in almond trees. He also will
offer tips about treating the problem, including chemical and mechanical
management practices. Sponsored by San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project, the
field day offers one hour of continuing education credit. For more information
contact Project Director Marcia Gibbs at (530) 370-5325 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.