Covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes, grains and other field crops since 1991.
Owen Taylor, Editor
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Lygus treatments are picking up in cotton.
Mites remain mostly a localized issue in cotton. Except for preventive applications, the only spraying we’re hearing about are where mites built next to dusty roads.
More blooms are apparent in a wider part of the valley as the new week begins. In most areas nobody will have a problem finding blooms on the Fourth of July. The crop pushes ahead. After our Crop Reports section you’ll find a link to a crop management advisory from Bob Hutmacher and Steve Wright. It includes recs on dealing with high vigor and low vigor cotton at this point in the season.
In alfalfa, weevils continue to be a factor. A few worm treatments are being made in alfalfa, too.
Tomatoes are still showing relatively new signs of curly top in some areas.
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Wayne Pricolo, PCA, Agri-Consultants, Inc., Los Banos: "In cotton, most everything is in the 14-node range, give or take. We’re starting on the second irrigation on some of the earliest fields. I found our first bloom about the middle of this week and expect to see blooms on a little wider basis next week. I’m finding a little lygus, mostly 1 and 2 counts, with an occasional 3. Where we’ve cut alfalfa we might see something as high as a 7, but mostly next to cut alfalfa we’re finding 4 to 6 counts.
“We’re including some Carbine with our Roundup sprays or something like that. Most everything will get a lygus material, even if we don’t have high counts. This approach has worked well over the last couple of years. We’ve kind of kept lygus at bay in this area.
“Alfalfa is quiet. We’re just starting to pick up a few worm hatches in tomatoes. Melons are quiet.”
Dan Prentice, Prentice Ag Consulting, Bakersfield: “Cotton is growing well and I’ve got some very, very good looking fields. It’s been relatively warm and plants are setting a lot of squares. I’ve seen minimal lygus damage. We’ve treated 3 fields for lygus, so far, and that’s it. Where we’ve treated, the counts ran 5 to 9. Other fields have 1 and 2 counts – not a lot of zeros like last year. Overall, though, lygus aren’t doing much damage, and I’m not finding too many missing positions.
“In alfalfa, worms are getting ready to take off, I think. I haven’t seen anything treatable yet but can find enough in fields to know we’ve got to keep an eye on them. I’m finding a few light hatches, so far, no big numbers. Hopefully, we can get through this cutting and into July without having to treat.”
Sara Savary, PCA, Crop Care Associates, Fresno: "I’m at 12 nodes with 6 to 7 fruiting branches in cotton and we’re probably on track for blooms before the Fourth of July, certainly right around then. Pix is going out and we just got through watering. Growers are cutting alfalfa, so we’re waitng to see if lygus will move into cotton. Quite a number of lygus are in the hay, but everyone is leaving strips when they cut to try to hold them there.
“We had to spray 2 alfalfa fields this week for weevils. I was kind of disgusted with having to write that recommendation. We never have to spray for weevils this late. I look for them, of course, but don’t have to spray. The UC IPM guidelines do state that you can have up to two generations in the summer that could be damaging, so I guess it’s not unheard of if the put that in the guidelines.
“The only time I can recall treating weevils in alfalfa this laet was in an area south of Mendota when I was checking down there. It's never happened to me in the Firebaugh area until this week. This also was the first year that we’ve had to deal with blue alfalfa aphids.
“In tomatoes, we’re still trying to keep leafhoppers off of them to minimize curly top. I’m not really sure when we’ll be able to stop doing that this season. Considering the cost of treating, the budgets may dictate when we pull back. So far, we’ve done a pretty good job and have been putting something on every 2 to 3 weeks since transplanting. But I’m still finding tomato plants that are fairly large that have curly top symptoms, so they’re obviously still being hit. But I can’t find the leafhoppers. That’s the thing that’s frustrating about this. I’m sweeping ditch banks but can’t find them.”
Nick Groenenberg, Independent PCA, Hanford: “My most advanced cotton is at 18 nodes. We’ve had a small, persistent count of lygus, so we’ve treated that. In some cases we’re adding Pix or we’re adding something for lygus when we apply a miticide. The counts aren’t big, but over time these small numbers can hurt you.
“Where we’re applying a miticide, it’s a preventive. I haven’t seen any mites on cotton yet, but on Pima we treat once, regardless. We’ve got a chance to get in by ground between irrigations and we’re also adding Roundup for the Roundup Ready cotton.
“In alfalfa we’ve sprayed some fields for worms and also for Egyptian alfalfa weevils. That’s been on 20% to 30% of our alfalfa. I see weevils here around June 1 in most years. Some fields have them, some don’t.
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“Tomatoes are doing fairly well except for curly top problems. Some fields have been replanted due to curly top and in one case the county wouldn’t let the grower replant. In our worst case, we lost 80% of the plants. In some other fields with curly top issues, we lost as low as 10%. We’re trying to find some kind of pattern to explain the differences. So far, though, any patterns have been kind of elusive. Curly top isn't in every acre and some areas have been hit worse than others. Where we sustained 80% plant loss, that field was in one of those problem areas.”
Vern Crawford, PCA, Wilbur-Ellis Co., Shafter: “A lot of people are spraying cotton for lygus now. They’re definitely out there.
“I use one of the earlier planted Pima fields in this area as kind of a benchmark. It’s not one of my fields and I’m not sure whose it is, but I’ll check it to see what the pattern looks like, and I’ve been finding plenty of immature lygus in it. They’re taking a toll on the top. Plants already are missing little squares, even though retention on the bottom 5 fruiting branches is holding at 100%. On the top 5, retention is 40%.
“Where we’re treating for lygus, it’s mostly on 4 counts. I still go with the idea that an immature lygus should be counted as 2 adults like the university once recommended. Call me old school if you’d like, but that non-adult can’t leave the field and move into alfalfa when it gets tired of eating cotton. The only way for him to leave the field is to eat his way into adulthood.
“Mostly, people are applying Carbine. It’s always unsettling to growers who don’t understand how the chemistry works because it doesn’t kill lygus right off, it just shuts down their ability to eat. So, they’re in the field but not hurting anything and will be apparent until they starve to death. It also doesn’t affect the ecosystem past controlling lygus, so we’ve still got beneficials in place. We really need to restore some balance with beneficials after all the damage we did trying to control the blue alfalfa aphids earlier in the hay.
“Conditions are beautiful and very friendly to cotton, I think. As long as we can manage lygus and avoid the crisis situation we’ve got with spider mites in almonds, this could be one of our better crops. It got off to a nice start and was planted early with mostly good growing conditions so far.
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“Fourth of July blooms have historically been the benchmark, but we already have blooms all over the place, which is 2 to 3 weeks early. That’s in the Pima varieties, not to mention the uplands, although it’s hard to find an upland field right now. I’m not finding any worms in cotton. Beneficials are moderate: minute pirate bugs, bigeye bugs and a few lacewings.
“Alfalfa looks good and we’re into the fourth cutting. The first irrigation has gone on that cutting and plants are responding well. Alfalfa prices are excellent, although I’m led to believe that dairymen haven’t bought much and keep waiting for the price to go down. A lot of the crop is going into containers for export, and at midseason some fields might be dried up because farmers won’t have further canal water to sustain it. Some guys who need hay may find themselves paying more later.
“Our blackeyes look really good. Stands are excellent, they were planted in good conditions and are well into bloom.”
Bob Hutmacher, Extension Cotton Specialist: “Cotton looks pretty good in most places I’ve checked this week. I continue to see some fields with mite hot spots, generally next to dusty roads, but they don't seem to be too bad. In those cases, I’ve heard of some miticide applications being made.
“Lygus populations seem to be highly variable field to field, but in some locations lygus populations have been at treatable levels as we approach first bloom. I haven’t seen high populations in most of the fields I’ve visited this week in Fresno, Tulare, Kings or Tulare Counties. But this may change with the more vigorous growth conditions in recently irrigated fields.
“I saw one field with a fairly high level of upper canopy worm damage for the first time this season, but the plants seemed to be rapidly outgrowing the feeding, with little damage to developing terminals.”
COTTON THIS WEEK:
Measure Vigor, Act Accordingly
By Bob Hutmacher, Extension Cotton Specialist, University of California, and Steve Wright, Extension Farm Advisor, Tulare County
Plenty of irrigation has been underway over the past couple of weeks and few fields are still waiting for a first post-planting irrigation. For any fields that have not yet received a first irrigation, growers might consider plant growth stage, weather/temperature forecasts and relative impacts of timing of water stress.
Research has generally shown that plants are not very sensitive to moderate water stress during seedling growth through about...READ FULL ADVISORY HERE.
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