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, May 15, 2017
It’s Time to Assess the Best Time to Irrigate Cotton
Young cotton plants are basking in the
warm, sunny weather.
scout Damien Jelen reports everything is progressing well as growers prepare
for the first irrigation after planting. But UC experts caution growers about
opening the water spout earlier than usual.
Bob Hutmacher, a local UC Cooperative
Extension specialist, says it’s tempting to do so because of the increased
availability of water following the drought-busting winter. Resist the
temptation, though, he says.
UCCE's Bob Hutmacher.
His reasoning: If growers had pretty
good moisture for planting and early root development in the upper 18 to 24
inches of the soil, it is better to wait because you will end up cooling the
soil. That could slow growth.
also says early irrigation also can heighten the risk of plant loss because of
seedling diseases. The time to water is before planting, which leachesout the
salt built up. Growers that didn’t do that can make it up by adding more water
and making an earlier first in-season irrigation this month or in June.
Cotton plants are quite salt tolerant. Salt
accumulation can wind up affecting plant growth and yields.
The first post-planting cotton irrigation will be soon.
If well water with mild to moderate
salinity levels was used to irrigate on previous crops in the area where cotton
was planted this season, then growers should consider collecting soil samples
to determine salinity levels in the upper root zone.
rains are likely to prompt growers to do more weed management in the fields,
Hutmacher says. The increase in weeds coupled with fewer fallow fields may
translate into more complicated pest management issues. Early season thrips and
lygus could lead to increased crop damage in 2017.
Almonds are getting big.
Meanwhile in almonds, field scout Jenna
Mayfield reports no significant pest concerns orchards. She says almonds are
larger than normal for this time of year. That’s a good sign so far. Of course,
there’s still a long way to go before harvest.