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, June 19, 2017
Prolonged Heat Wave Can Really Bug Valley's Crops
Summer is still two days away. But we’re certainly
sending off spring with a bang.
It’s HOT, HOT, HOT in the Valley.
sizzling temperatures we weathered over the weekend are predicted to continue
throughout the week, reaching as high as 110 degrees. A week of triple-digit
temperatures means things are getting quite buggy for crops, including almonds,
alfalfa and cotton.
“Lygus is exploding,” alfalfa and cotton field scout
Damien Jelen says.
we mentioned last week, lygus bugs are a major threat to cotton. They can cause
damage from early squaring through cutout and final boll set. The pest will
pierce the squares and damage the tissue, eventually causing them to drop. If
too many squares drop, the cotton plant will experience too much vegetative
growth leading to tall spindly plants and a reduced yield.
Lygus bug damage in cotton. (University of Georgia photo)
In one cotton field, for example, Damien caught nine
lygus after 50 passes of his sweep net. That’s not good because the treatment
threshold through the end of this month is two lygus per 50 sweeps. The grower
is going to have to closely monitor that field and make some hard decisions if
the population densities remain high.
Cotton is in an important development period right
now. UC IPM notes: “Success in retaining
early squares will greatly determine the final yield; therefore protecting
cotton during the early square formation period (June) is critical. Protection
during the early season is very complex. Factors such as lygus
bug numbers, high susceptibility of cotton, and variability in sampling require
the grower to be extremely vigilant and ready to act at an instant.”
you want to read up on the topic, go to UC IPM online to learn about lygus
pest management in cotton. Damien will continue to update us
about the state of lygus in our fields.
Almond growers are adding lots of water due to the heat.
Meanwhile, almond field scout Jenna Mayfield reports
the growers are keeping their orchards well hydrated. “Everyone is putting on a
lot of water. They don’t want to stress the trees.”
Well-irrigated orchards are important for guarding
against spider mites, which are a threat for almonds through August.Mites flourish in warm weather and will hit
“The conditions are ripe for mites,” Jenna says. She
reminds growers dusty conditions can trigger mite outbreaks.So it’s important to water down access roads
and watch driving speeds to control dust, she says.
Don’t forget Tuesday’s field day featuring
alfalfa pest management tips and an update on pesticide regulatory issues. Sponsored
by the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project, the free event will be from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Los 3 Pancho
Restaurant, 2031 Blossom Street.Merced County Assistant Agricultural Commissioner
Yvette Pellman and Dr. Pete Goodell of UC IPM are the featured speakers.
Growers will learn about non-fumigant VOC regulations, chlorphyrifos and worker
protection as well as integrating multiple approaches to managing pests in
alfalfa. The field day has been approved for continuing education credits. For
more information, contact SJSFP Director Marcia Gibbs at (530) 5325 or Marcia@sustainablecotton.org