What is in this article?:
- California growers are expecting average cotton yields this fall;
- Hot July temperatures helped develop the cotton crop following slow growth tied to cool weather in the spring;
- Fresno County cotton grower Don Cameron says, “We now have the opportunity to make a good crop.”;
- California cotton ginners are gearing up to gin more cotton acres this year spurred by higher prices.
California cotton farmer Don Cameron is pleased with the good mix of warm and hot daytime temperatures and cool nights in July which increased his odds for a normal 2011 crop.
The temperatures came on the heels of cool spring weather which delayed cotton planting by several weeks across California and Arizona. The elongated spring caused Cameron to replant about 15 percent of his cotton acreage. Cameron’s overall crop is now catching up though still behind about 10 days in heat units.
“We had hot weather in early July that helped the plant develop better structure and catch up,” said Cameron, general manager of Terranova Ranch in Helm in Fresno County. “During the last two weeks of July we saw a nice bloom and good fruit load coming. We now have the opportunity to make a good crop.”
Cameron’s acreage includes 600 acres of American Pima extra long staple cotton and 250 acres of Acala short staple cotton. Most of the Pima acreage is planted in the Deltapine 340 Pima variety. Cameron has 190 acres of Deltapine 353 Pima grown organically. The Acala acreage is planted in PhytoGen’s 725 RF and 755 WRF varieties.
Cameron’s Pima yield estimates in early August ranged from 2 to 2.25 bales per acre and up to 3 bales per acre for early Pima plantings.
“Considering the weather year we’ve had I’d be real happy with those yields,” Cameron said. The 30-year farming veteran will gin the crop through the Air-Way Gin in Huron.
Cameron forward contracted 90 percent of his crop. He nailed down a $2-plus per pound price for Pima and about $1.50 per pound for Acala for roller ginning.
“I’m very happy with the price. We hit close to the market high.”
Pest and disease issues have been minor so far. Cameron sprayed once for lygus with a Carbine-Belay insecticide mix with good results.
Irrigation water is delivered by furrow, sprinkler, and buried drip; about one-third each.
Terranova Farms also grows processing tomatoes, dehydrator onions, fresh onions, wine grapes, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, lettuce seed, alfalfa, corn for silage, olives for olive oil, winter and summer carrots, prunes, and seed crops.
Cotton farmer Tim Cox of Coxco LLC grows about 800 acres of long-season Upland cotton (Deltapine 164 B2RF) in Blythe, Calif. (Riverside County) and in Poston, Ariz. (La Paz County). His crop mix also includes alfalfa and occasional plantings of durum wheat.