Herbicide Limits Plantings Following Cilantro

Caparol Label Change Sought To Reduce Plant-Back Restrictions Following Cilantro

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Cilantro production is important in California and more growers are planting it. However, an herbicide used in cilantro has plant-back restrictions to other crops.

It’s easy to grow and works well as a rotation crop, explained Oleg Daugovish, a UCANR Cooperative Extension Strawberry and Vegetable Crop Advisor serving Ventura County.

“It’s an easy fit in our production systems. You can fit it between many crops,” Daugovish said. “It’s a quick crop and can be planted in a small planting window.”

To help minimize weeds, Caparol herbicide is labeled for use on cilantro. “It works very well and it’s all we need to control weeds in cilantro,” Daugovish explained.

“But the problem is that we have some plant-back restrictions. Some of the crops, we obviously have to rotate your cilantro with something,” Daugovish said. “You have to have a label that allows you to go back to the field with other crops such as peppers, lettuce, Brussel sprouts or spinach.”

That’s the biggest problem for growers, as they like how it works on cilantro, but need an allowance to go back in with different crops without worry.

Under the IR-4 program, Daugovish conducted research to see if other crops could safely be planted after a cilantro crop. The research indicated that crops following cilantro within the plant-back restrictions were safe for the most part.

“They treatments were similar to the untreated,” said Daugovish. “We are putting some numbers together and running statistics in different locations such as Salinas, Santa Paula, and Ventura.”

Daugovish said it appears that it is safe to follow cilantro without waiting for plant-back restrictions, and he plans to submit the data to the IR-4 program who can get it to the registrant who can amend the label.

“We need to make the change on the label so growers can use it without the plant-back restrictions,” said Daugovish. “We expect to have the data sets to support a label change so that growers can use it.”

“As far as herbicides, we may not have another option for a while, but if growers can use is safely with peace of mind it will be a major benefit,” he said.

Heat Streak and Leafy Greens

Frank Ratto on Heat Streak and Leafy Greens

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

 

With a high spike in temperatures in the Central Valley, growers of leafy green vegetables are concerned about the quality of their products. Frank Ratto, vice president of marketing for Ratto Bros., a diversified century-old vegetable operation based in Stanislaus County, said that although the heat streak can cause internal burns in leafy green vegetables, he is confident that, with proper management, their leafy greens will be all right.

“The summer leafy green vegetable supply is always pretty good,” Ratto said, “so prices are very stable going into the fall. But, two or three days of a heat wave like the one we’re having right now can cause tremendous damage and escalate the price of our products. That may happen and we could be a victim or we could be a beneficiary.”

Given the heat wave, Ratto said Napa cabbage growers, in particular, are facing some difficulties. “Napa cabbage does not like heat,” he said, “because it will suffer from a lot of internal burns. Many coastal growers are having issues with it, so demand is tight and supplies are very low.”Ratto Bros Logo

Regarding vegetable prices, Ratto said that the price of cilantro was as high as $50 per box for the last three weeks, “but now it’s coming down to the $25 zone. Mexico had some supply issues, but it looks like they’re catching up, and supplies are improving, and the price is going down.”

Other leafy greens such as leaf lettuces, according to Ratto, are in good supply and quality right now.

Ratto said Ratto Bros. has expanded their organic products to include red and La Cinato kale; red, green, and rainbow Swiss chard; leaks; and collard and mustard greens,” among others.

“We’re trying to expand our organic offerings as more people look for organics in the store,” Ratto continued. “As growers, we know that both conventional and organics are healthy and nutritious—and we don’t really see a difference—but we give the consumer what they want. As long as everybody gets healthy, nutritious food, that’s all we care about.”