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 produced by Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.
Monday, April 30, 2018
Field Scouts Poised to Help Growers Battle Pests
Cotton fields are planted. Almonds are
growing nicely and pest traps are in place. And alfalfa fields are being
irrigated after the first cutting of the season.
Yes, everything is progressing well for cotton, almond and
alfalfa growers as we prepare to turn the page on another month. In the Valley,
May means warmer weather – and pests – are ahead.
“When it heats up bug populations
explode,” almond and alfalfa field scout Damien Jelen says.
Once again, Damien and almond field
scout Jenna Mayfield are poised to provide another set of eyes to help growers
monitor pest populations in their fields and orchards in Fresno, Merced and
A sweep net snags pests living in an alfalfa field.
They will keep growers informed and updated on field and orchard conditions,
providing reports such as fruit retention data to cotton growers and petiole
samples for almond growers. Damien and Jenna also are connected to
leadingUniversity of California crop experts to stay on top of any problems.
scouting offers an economical and environmentally sound way to help growers
make timely pest management decisions before major crop
damage occurs. Regular scouting also can help prevent unnecessary treatments.
scouts, Jenna and Damien make daily rounds around fields and orchards and write
up weekly field notes for each grower. Jenna monitors pest traps set up around
almond orchards. Damien uses a sweep net to monitor pest levels in cotton and
alfalfa. They know where pests live and what the bugs look like and how to
Jenna checks a pest trap during her field scouting rounds.
far, Jenna has reported on an early uptick in leaffooted plant bugs. Growers
have tackled the pest, but it’s hard to tell how much damage this pest has
caused until after the harvest.Jenna
says peach twig borer eggs are on her watch list after inspecting traps in the
orchards. So far, the numbers aren’t worrisome – for now.
alfalfa, weevil numbers are on the rise but they dropped after the first
cutting. Damien expects aphid populations to increase once the weather heats
up. But overall pests are under control in alfalfa for now.