Monday, October 8, 2018

Whitefly, Aphids and Honeydew a Big Sticky Issue for Cotton








 The industry worried sticky cotton, which is caused by whiteflies and cotton aphids secreting honeydew and contaminating the lint, would tarnish California’s global reputation for producing California’s high quality cotton.
Growers want to avoid sticky cotton.



A U.S. Department of Agriculture report calls sticky cotton a worldwide problem that is “increasing as cotton processing machinery is refined because high-speed, large-volume processing of lint requires cleaner cotton. Much of the cotton produced in the Western United States is exported, and loss of export markets is a serious threat to the U.S. economy.”


Yes, sticky cotton can slow down or even halt cotton processing at the gin so processors can clean gummed up rollers and combs.

During the 2013 infestation, growers were able to avert disaster and control the whitefly population.

Fortunately for this season, apids and whitefly pressure was relatively under control as the season headed toward defoliation and the fall harvest, according to field scout Damien Jelen. “There were some early signs of sticky cotton but that didn’t last long. Whitefly was worse last year.”
Aphids populate a cotton leaf.

Silverleaf whitefly will leave honeydew on cotton plants.
Whitefly and aphids are such a concern to the cotton industry that the state Department of Food and Agriculture checks for the pest every summer, taking leaf samples in 10 percent of the cotton fields in the Valley.

Ag officials start taking samples the first week of July and compile weekly reports. In the Northern San Joaquin Valley, officials this season visit 60 sites in Fresno County, two in Madera County and 62 in Merced County. The reports give growers an idea of the changes of whitefly numbers over time.

In the Ag Departments’s most recent weekly report covering August 27 to September 7, officials reported:

  •  Of the 600 leaf samples taken in Fresno County, 19 percent of the leaves were infested with silverleaf whitefly nymphs and 4 percent with aphids.One-third of the sample sites had leaves with honeydew and 27 percent with sooty mold.
  • Of the 620 leaf samples taken in Merced County, 5 percent had whitefly and 1 percent aphids. Forty-four percent of the sample sites had leaves with honeydew and 42 percent with sooty mold.
  • Of the 20 leaf samples taken in Madera County, 15 percent of the leaves had whitefly and none had aphids. One of the sites had leaves with honeydew and sooty mold.

 If you don’t think this issue is taken seriously, consider this: Californiagrowers spent $220 million to combat sticky cotton from 1992 to 2001. Studies indicate sticky cotton can result in a price reduction of 3 to 5 cents a pound.

ALMOND FIELD DAY:For one final time, growers will have an opportunity to hear valuable tips from David Doll, the highly regarded almond expert and pomologist with UC Cooperative Extension in Merced County. The “Almond Doctor” is heading overseas to share his almond expertise with the developing markets there. The free event will be Wednesday, October 17. Don’t miss out on theparting advice from the “doctor.” The  meetingwill be from 10 am to 12 noon at West Valley Hulling, 45475 W Panoche Rd. Firebaugh. Growers will hear from Doll and Kris Tollerup,UC Statewide IPM advisor who will share information on managing navel orangeworm in almonds. Nick Tatarakis, Manager and Steve Malanca, Field Rep at West Valley Hulling will give a short talk about the huller followed by a tour through the facility.




COTTON FARM TOUR: This popular eventis back, offering a behind-the-scenes look at cotton production. The day-long tour is set for Thursday, October 25. Leading experts and professionals will offer insights about cotton cultivation and processing, addressing issues such as water use, cotton farming practices and the state of the market for Cleaner Cotton™ fiber. Cost is $40 a person and covers bus transportation, a catered lunch at the Cardella Winery in Mendota and snacks and water. The tour starts at 8:15 a.m. at the Best Western Apricot Inn, 46290 West Panoche Road, Firebaugh. Register through the Sustainable Cotton Project’s Eventbrite site.

To reserve a motel room at the special event price, contact the Apricot Inn at
 (559) 659-1444 and ask for “Sustainable Cotton Project — Cotton Farm Tour” rate.

See you there.



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