When Spraying, Avoid Water, Bees and High Wind

Spraying Safely Prevents Major Issues

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

Safe spraying is an important topic. Making sure that crop protection spray materials stay on target is at the interest of all growers, Tim Pelican, Agricultural Commissioner for San Joaquin County, explained recently to California Ag Today.

“We want to make sure that we are not applying sprays to water bodies, especially standing water or running water,” Pelican emphasized, “Especially because it will run off into other larger bodies of water. If you look at any product label, it will tell you not to apply to standing water. The scenario will show up in our water coalition’s work reports.”

“Drift in the Delta can be an issue because of the high winds out there,” he explained. “So, we must avoid spraying during high winds to avoid drift issues. Another issue we have is when blast sprayer operators do not turn their rigs off at the end of a row. So they come out and make their turn, and then we receive complaints about vehicles being sprayed or something like that.”

“Spray safety hazards have been coming from a variety of materials,” Pelican reported. “We have had issues with people using sulfur, copper or something similar; it could be any material, so spray safety is always important.”

“When it comes to spraying in San Joaquin County,” Pelican said, “We treat more than just almonds. Cherry crops require sprays as well. Melon crops are big users of apiaries, so we aim to make sure that people have as much information as they can so that they can make wise application choices.”

“Another suggestion is not spraying during the day when bees are active, even if the label states that it is okay, do not apply.”

Tim Pelican Says Be Watchful When Spraying

Safety When Spraying

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke with Tim Pelican, Agricultural Commissioner for San Joaquin County, about spray safety.

“We want to make sure that we’re not spraying anywhere near water, especially standing water or running water, because then it could run off and eventually show up in our work reports of our local water coalition,” he said.

“One reason sprays could be getting into the water is due to drift. There could be large gusts when farmers do not turn off their rigs at the ends of their rows,” Pelican said. “These spray safety hazards have been coming from a variety of materials such as sulfur and copper materials.”

Bee safety is always important when it comes to spraying.

“In San Joaquin County, we have almonds and cherry crops that require them,” he said.

“One issue is the lack of communication between beekeepers and the farmers on where the bees are. We also suggest that growers not spray during the day when bees are active,” Pelican explained. “That’s even if the spray label says it is okay around bees.”

Early rains help range partially recover

By Ching Lee; Ag Alert

Late autumn and early winter storms that moved through the state have spurred greener pastures, improving grazing conditions on California rangelands, but ranchers say more rainfall is needed for them to begin rebuilding their herds.

“As far as grass growth, this is as good of a feed year as we’ve ever had this early in the season,” said Placer County cattle rancher Joe Fischer. “This early grass growth and early root establishment will really set us up to have a phenomenal feed year come spring if these rains continue.”

But he said he also prepared for additional drought by reducing the herd he manages by 20 percent last winter and leaving more residual feed on the ground in order to promote better grass growth this season.

Mild temperatures have also aided grass growth, Fischer said, but they don’t bode well for a healthy snowpack—sensors measure the Sierra Nevada snowpack at about half of average—and that will affect water supply for this summer where he has irrigated pasture. In addition, many springs are not yet flowing the way they should be, he added, noting that a lack of drinking water on one ranch prevented him from placing any cattle there in early fall, even though it had plenty of residual dry feed.

“I’m still fearful that we aren’t out of the woods yet when it comes to drought in California,” he said.

Despite his fears, Fischer said he’s “hopeful and optimistic that this is going to turn around for us” and that California ranchers will move toward reestablishing their herds, though their cattle numbers will remain conservative at first.

With last month’s deluge, Mariposa County rancher Clarence Borba said it appears he can start retaining some of his cattle, after being forced to cut his herd in half and to buy feed when there was nothing left to graze. Because he leases his ground, which receives no irrigation, Borba said his costs soared when he had to buy feed and pay rent on the land even when no grasses were growing.

“There were times when I didn’t know if we were going to make it through,” he said.

Borba said while he’s trying to build back his herd, he’s doing it slowly.

“Things are looking a lot brighter now than they were a few months ago, but our profit margin is pretty narrow, so you can’t make too many mistakes and spend too much money,” he said.

San Joaquin County rancher Diana Connolly said she sold about a quarter of her herd early last year and didn’t keep any replacement heifers, due to a lack of feed. Like many cattle ranchers around the state, she has had to buy plenty of hay during the last three years. Whether she will keep any replacements this year will depend on how the rest of the rainy season goes, she said, as she doesn’t have to make that decision until May, when she weans her calves.

Though she has filled her barns with hay, Connolly said if more rain does not come this season to improve pastures, “it won’t make any difference how much feed you have right now.” She recalled how the lack of precipitation last winter left ranchers scrambling, even though the fall began with some good moisture.

“The rains are good, but I think the whole cattle industry is still feeling the effects of the three-year drought,” she said.

One lesson that Sacramento County rancher Jim Vietheer said he has learned from the drought is to start buying crop insurance, with this year being the first time he’s signed up for it. He noted that federal disaster aid has allowed him to buy extra hay. Strong cattle prices have also allowed him to cull his herd more heavily than he normally would, so that he could reduce impact on his pastures.

He said even though recent rains “have helped our situation amazingly,” he fears it will be short-lived if the state does not continue to get more, periodic rainfall. For this reason, Vietheer said he’s going to remain conservative on his stocking rate on some of this leased properties, “in case it becomes another bad year.”

“I’m a lot happier, but you don’t want to count your chickens before they hatch,” he said.

For San Diego County rancher Jim Davis, his region has not gotten “significant amounts of rain” and it has “come very gently, with little runoff,” he said, but he also noted that “conditions are very much improved over what they were a month ago.”

He said his cattle will be on supplemental feed for another month and a half, but that is typical for this time of year. Being three hours away from the Imperial Valley, Davis said buying feed has not been a problem, and while the price of hay “is never low enough,” at least there’s an adequate supply.

But for now, he said he will try to maintain his herd at the current level.

“I’d like to see another year of good moisture before we start rebuilding,” he added.

Riverside County rancher Bud Wellman said his herd size has not bounced back because a fire two years ago destroyed much of his summer range, which is on forestland, and the U.S. Forest Service so far has not allowed grazing to resume.

“Right now is when the cattle would do the most good,” Wellman said, adding that cattle grazing would restore the forest ground so that water could penetrate it rather than causing floods.

What has helped him, he said, is that the Girl Scouts of Orange County has allowed his herd to graze its campgrounds for weed abatement and fire prevention.

While his summer range in the mountains has improved with the recent storms, Wellman said where he’s hurting is on his winter range, south of Palm Springs. He has not been able to place his cattle there because many of the springs and creeks cattle use for drinking water are still dry, and what rainfall the region received has not been enough to get them flowing.

“The water situation on the desert side is still very critical,” he said. “If we could get those streams and springs back, we’d be in good shape.”

Van Groningen & Sons In Full Harvest Mode

Bryan Van Groningen, with Van Groningen & Sons, a farming operation in Manteca, in San Joaquin County says the operation  is in full harvest mode, rounding out what has been a good year.

“Right now we’re still in peak season of the watermelon harvest. We’re also getting geared up for the pumpkin season. We are going to be harvesting some of our ornamental gourds pretty soon, and that’s going to lead into our normal-sized pumpkins of all types of varieties. That’s going to get underway soon, probably in another week, and will continue all the way until the end of October. We are just completing our sweet corn harvest, and almond harvest has begun as well,” said Van Groningen.

Van Groningen thinks the drought has affected pricing this year. “I think the lack of water up and down the state has affected the pricing because it has been pretty strong. We haven’t had those valleys in some of the pricing throughout the season, but I think, further down south, guys are irrigating only their permanent crops and going into more of their higher-dollar crops. For crops like sweet corn, there are not a lot of acres growing in California, and that has kept the price high,” said Van Groningen.

The farm’s water supply was sufficient this year, but Van Groningen is guarded about the future. “We’re fortunate in our areas because we are irrigating most of our land with a deep well, and we don’t have to rely on district water so much, so we are kind of lucky. We are in control of our own water supply,” he said.

Van Groningen notes that the operation has had well issues.  “We did have one well collapse on us, so that tells me the water table continues to drop. We irrigate from probably 60 different deep wells, and I’d say one out of sixty–that isn’t  too big of a problem at this point. But if it continues this way, and we remain in a drought, and we don’t get enough rainfall to recharge some of that groundwater, it’s going to get pretty dicey, I think,” he said.

ALERT: Immediate Action Needed for Thrips/TSWR

Source: Neil McRoberts

For those who have water and tomatoes:

 

Thrips numbers have increased rapidly in the southern arm of the Central Valley and Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) has been reported in all of the areas we monitor,” according to Neil McRoberts, Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology Department, UC Davis.

There are numerous reports of TSWV symptoms in crops from Stanislaus County down to Fresno and Kings County particularly around the Huron area.

 

The current risk in Fresno County is high and we are recommending that growers who plan to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV take immediate action. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

If you are planning to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV this season, you should target the next generation of thrips (generation 3).  If it is not possible to arrange for treatment in time to catch generation 3, target generation 4. Delaying treatment until later in the season will be much less effective at preventing damage from TSWV.  Coordinated spraying across large areas has an additional effect on thrips populations because it makes it difficult for them to avoid treatment by migrating.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 17th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.  This means you need to take immediate action.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 11th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.  Treatment in the 14 days immediately following the generation 3 peak date will also be effective.

 

The current risk in the Merced area is high and we are recommending that growers who plan to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV take immediate action. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 22nd.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 16th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.  Treatment in the 14 days immediately following the generation 3 peak date will also be effective.

 

The current risk in eastern San Joaquin County is lower than in other southern Counties, but we think a precautionary approach is best. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

If you are planning to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV this season, you should target the next generation of thrips (generation 3).  If it is not possible to arrange for treatment in time to catch generation 3, target generation 4. Delaying treatment until later in the season will be much less effective at preventing damage from TSWV.  Coordinated spraying across large areas has an additional effect on thrips populations because it makes it difficult for them to avoid treatment by migrating.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 28th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 22nd.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.

 

The current risk in Kings County is high and we are recommending that growers who plan to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV take immediate action. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

If you are planning to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV this season, you should target the next generation of thrips (generation 3).  If it is not possible to arrange for treatment in time to catch generation 3, target generation 4. Delaying treatment until later in the season will be much less effective at preventing damage from TSWV.  Coordinated spraying across large areas has an additional effect on thrips populations because it makes it difficult for them to avoid treatment by migrating.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 22nd.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.  This means you need to take immediate action.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 14th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.  Treatment in the 14 days immediately following the generation 3 peak date will also be effective.

 

The current risk in western San Joaquin County is lower than in other southern counties, but we think a precautionary approach is best. The current mini heat wave will accelerate thrips development slightly and further bump up thrips numbers.

If you are planning to use an insecticide program against thrips/TSWV this season, you should target the next generation of thrips (generation 3).  If it is not possible to arrange for treatment in time to catch generation 3, target generation 4.

Delaying treatment until later in the season will be much less effective at preventing damage from TSWV.  Coordinated spraying across large areas has an additional effect on thrips populations because it makes it difficult for them to avoid treatment by migrating.

Generation 3 adults are projected to peak on May 28th.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 3 and delay further population build-up and TSWV spread.

Generation 4 adults are projected to peak on June 22nd.  Sprays applied in the 14-day period before this peak date will check generation 4 and delay further population build up and TSWV spread.

 

The web resource for integrated management of Western Flower Thrips and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus in the California Central Valley contains two tools to help in disease risk management:  

A Field Risk Index tool uses simple information about field locations, land use, and agronomy to calculate a risk category for tomato crops.  This tool can be used before planting or early in the season to get a heads up about the general risk to a crop from TSWV.

A thrips population projection model, driven by degree-day accumulation at several Central Valley locations, aids in projecting when thrips generations are hatching, developing, and adult numbers are peaking.  This information is used to issue regular updates and provide broad guidelines for timing insecticide sprays to keep thrips numbers low enough to prevent TSWV from spreading.

The research behind these tools was supported by the California Tomato Research Institute (CTRI)

The model was developed in Collaboration with Dr. Len Coop of Oregon State University’s Integrated Plant Protection Center (IPPC).  The IPPC developed and hosts the USPEST web service which is a multi pest multi model tool that provides information on pest development and disease risk for the Contiguous 48 US states using a network of weather stations.