Fresno County Ag Commissioner Urges Cotton Growers To Complete Plowdown 

Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer Les Wright TODAY urged all cotton growers to complete their plowdown activities as soon as possible to maintenance a host-free period for pink bollworm. For the 2013 growing season, there were no native pink bollworm moths captured in Fresno County for 62,215 acres of cotton.
Cotton Plowdown Requirements:
Plowdown Dates for this growing season are:
December 20, 2013 – South Of Shields Avenue
December 31, 2013 – North Of Shields Avenue
Stalks must be shredded by a power-driven shredder that will effectively reduce stalks to a particle size, permitting burial and rapid decomposition.
Following shredding, tillage must be completed in such a manner that all stubs are loose from the soil around the roots and will prevent re-growth.
At this point, there are two options for cotton growers:
Conventional plowdown is done by discing all roots, plant stubs, shredded debris and trash remaining from harvesting or clean-up operations and soils around roots to the point that they are turned over and thoroughly mixed with surface soil. This method of plowdown is required in sections where pinkie has been found last growing season or this season until September 1, 2013.
Reduced tillage does NOT require the incorporation of all roots, plant stubs, shredded debris and trash remaining from harvesting or clean-up operations. If growers choose this option, they must submit a notification 10 days prior to tillage of their intention to reduce tillage on their acreage eligible for the program. Call the Department to find out which sections are not eligible for this program if you are not sure.
Once plowdown is completed by either method, any volunteer cotton must be destroyed that may appear during the host-free period, even if it is on ground that was not planted to cotton this season. If re-growth does occur during the host-free period in 2014, the grower/landowner will be cited for a violation of cotton plowdown regulations. Be sure to check fallow fields for isolated plants growing in the field and in easement areas.
Do your part to keep pinkie out of the San Joaquin Valley and finish your plowdown early to avoid the following penalties for noncompliance:
Violation Of Plowdown Date – Base fine of $500 + $5 per acre not in compliance
Repeat/Subsequent Violations – Base fine of $1,000 + $10 per acre not in compliance
In California, pink bollworm overwinters as a late stage larva in trash, at the base of cotton stalks, in soil cracks, and rarely in seeds in the unopened boll. Conventional plowdown, when done properly, kills pink bollworms in these overwintering sites. Conventional plowdown and March planting dates are designed to disrupt the life cycle of pink bollworm. It is not known whether reduced tillage practices give pink bollworm a foothold for next season. Fields using reduced tillage will be scrutinized during the host free period and next trapping season.
The late planting dates for cotton create the opportunity for “suicide emergences.” If pink bollworm emerges before the plants have begun to square, the female will lay her eggs on sheltered parts of the plant, but the larvae will die. Cotton planted too early or re-growth cotton will provide feeding and egg laying sites for pinkie.
Questions concerning proper plowdown procedure may be directed to any district office locations listed below:
Fresno                  600-7510     8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Firebaugh             600-7322     1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Huron                   600-7325     1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Kerman                600-7326     1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Reedley                600-7329     1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Sanger                  600-7331     1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Selma                   600-7327     1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
The Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner’s offices will be closed on December 25, 2013 and January 1, 2014.