Growers and PCAs alike are once again sounding the alarm about the early and heavy advance of both the blue alfalfa aphid (BAA) and the cowpea aphid throughout the valley. Last year’s BAA outbreak was highly localized and varied from block to block without a discernible pattern. Early reports indicate high aphid numbers in central and southern California including fields in: Imperial, Palo Verde, Antelope, and the San Joaquin Valley.

In many fields this population spike has occurred even earlier than what was observed in 2013. A lack of moisture has also contributed to higher aphid populations by reducing fungal infestation and the corresponding stress on aphids.

 

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Aphicide efficacy trials are currently being conducted by Eric Natwick of UC Cooperative Extension. On the ground, PCAs are noting populations of beneficials higher than those of last year. Many are currently holding off on spraying and hoping that predation will keep aphids in check.

CAFA is continuing to collaborate with growers, PCAs, and the academic community to identify the problem and pursue a solution that passes regulatory scrutiny.

The need for more tools is recognized by all to both effectively control this damaging pest and to be better stewards of the existing tools through strengthened resistance management.

 

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You can help this effort by participating in the 2014 Alfalfa Aphid Survey. The survey is composed of four questions and will take only minutes to complete. Your participation will help all parties involved better respond to the BAA threat. Read a post by UC Entomologist Dr. Larry Godfrey for aphid identification instructions.

Now more than ever CAFA needs the support of and input from growers and allied industry partners.

If you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the CAFA newsletter. In addition to our partnership with Western Farm Press, CAFA’s bi-weekly newsletter serves to communicate items of interest to the industry and to keep growers engaged in issues that affect their bottom line.

Our 2014 membership year began Jan. 1 and we are accepting dues for members both new and old — visit www.calhay.org to learn more. The CAFA Board of Directors and staff recognize the obstacles and opportunities in 2014 and hope that with your support the entire industry can emerge on the other side stronger than ever.

 

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