|Cotton fields are ready for planting across the Central Valley.|
In the Valley, the first day growers officially can plant their cotton is March 10, which represents the end of the 90-day host-free period for the pink bollworm control program. Of course, there usually aren’t any early birds that start on the 10th.
UC IPM offers these guidelines for interpreting its five-day forecast for determining field soil temperature readings:
- 10 degree-days or less are unfavorable for planting.
- 11 to 15 degree-days are marginally acceptable for planting.
- 16 to 20 degree-days are adequate for planting.
- Greater than 20 degree-days are ideal for planting.
- Be cautious about planting if cooling temperatures are forecast over the course of the 5-day period.
|Take soil temperatures in six separate field locations.|
After the crop is planted, cotton seedlings should emerge from the ground within 10 days. That indicates good germination.
Damien expects planting conditions to be ripe this week, meaning a flurry of activity in the cotton fields.
Meanwhile, Damien also anticipates alfalfa growers to do the first cutting of the season this week. The dry weather and 80-degree temperatures in recent days – after heavy rains to start the spring – has dried the crop enough for the first harvest to take place. As long as there’s plenty of water and nature cooperates, look for the alfalfa season to stretch into the early fall.