Tuesday, January 16, 2018

There Are Lots of Chores Ahead for Alfalfa Growers


It’s finally feeling like winter with rain drops falling across the Valley early last week.

Growers certainly are counting on more wet stuff as they continue their winter chores.
In the coming weeks, we’re going to offer winter to-do lists for alfalfa, almond and cotton growers.

Alfalfa tops 60,000 acres in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Statewide, growers cultivate about 800,000 acres a year. So there are plenty of winter chores before harvest starts later this spring.

Here is a to-do list from the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program:

  •   Continue surveying winter weeds through this month and keep a record of results.
  •     Determine weed management strategy based on 2017 weed types and abundance.  You should consider applying pre- or post-emergence herbicide or a combination of both, appropriate for the weed pressure; overseeding with grasses and legumes in older, depleted stands; grazing or cultivating with a spring-toothed harrow, taking care to minimize damage to the alfalfa crowns.
  •     Note any special weed problems such as dodder and perennial weeds. Manage, if needed, according to the pest management guidelines.
  •      Start monitoring for aphids this month.
  •      Monitor for weevils by looking for chewed leaves, especially on stands putting on new growth. Take sweep-net samples when alfalfa height allows and manage if needed.
  •    Look for signs of vertebrate pests such as gophers, meadow voles or ground squirrels.  Manage, if needed, according to the pest management guidelines.
  •  Scout for signs of stem nematode through March or April.

Growers can go to the UC IPM website to learn more about managing pests in alfalfa year-round.

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