Monday, January 29, 2018

Valley Cotton Growers Hope to Keep Up Momentum from 2017




California cotton experienced a nice rebound last season, increasing acreage to 298,000 acres, a 38 percent jump from 2016.
 
Of course, a drought busting rainy season that boosted water availability certainly buoyed growers and prompted them to plant more cotton. In 2017everyone is hoping the recent rains portend to wetter times ahead, especially after a fairly dry couple of months.

Breaking down the numbers, the USDA National Agriculture Statistical Services reported growers cultivated 208,000 acres of Pima in 2017, a 35.1 percent increase from the year before. Acala/Upland cotton acreage increased 45.2 percent to 90,000 acres.

Before the planting starts around April, growers will have a lot of winter work ahead.
The University of California Integrated Pest Management Program offers these wintertime tasks for growers: 
  •          Consider pest history and surrounding crops
  •          Consider crop rotations if a field had severe problems in 2017 with root knot nematode, verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, or seedling diseases.
  •          Look at precision tillage and ripping for areas with a history of soil compaction, particularly if root knot nematodes are also a problem.
  •          Survey and manage weeds. Record your findings and treat if needed according to cotton pest management guidelines.
  •        Select a cotton variety based on local conditions and climate and field history of verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt and root knot nematode.
  •          Consider a seed treatment for pests based on field history and according to the cotton pest management guidelines for aphids, seedcorn maggot, seedling diseases, thrips and wireworms.
  •        Start planning for when to plant around March 5 by checking 5-day degree-day forecast and taking soil temperature.

FIELD DAY: The San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project is recruiting new almond, alfalfa and cotton growers in Merced, Madera and Fresno counties for the 2018 season. Growers can learn more about the program during a field day from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, February 15 at the Firebaugh Mendota United Methodist Church, 1660 O Street, inFirebaugh. Tom Casey of the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and Orvil McKinnis of the Westside San Joaquin RiverWatershed Coalition will provide updates about 2018 pesticide regulations and the watershed. For more information or to inquire about enrolling, please contact SJSFP/SCP Director Marcia Gibbs at (530) 370-5325 or  marcia@sustainablecotton.org



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