Cotton takes a hit in 2008
California's white gold, aka "King Cotton," took a significant hit in 2008. According to CDFA, cotton revenue dropped $61.5 million and 48,000 cotton acres were abandoned or went unplanted.
Cotton growers comitted to pressing on attended a recent cotton field day at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center, which was covered by freelance writer Marni Katz for Western Farm Press.
“I know you guys who have survived up to this point are the cream of the crop," the article quoted Ed Barnes, ag research director of Cotton Inc. “You really are dealing with a situation here that is unlike anywhere else in the country."
Katz drew information from presentations by four UC Cooperative Extension experts for her article:
IPM advisor Pete Goodell spoke about the need to address lygus regionally, rather than on a farm-by-farm basis.“The community has to manage the IPM landscape. This is a community problem and it’s going to require a community solution," he was quoted.
Field crops specialist Jeff Mitchell addressed the use of conservation tillage in cotton production. "The key to success, he said, is to plant into adequate moisture and use starter fertilizer to help establish the crop," Katz wrote.
Farm advisor Dan Munk discussed new guidelines for irrigating Pima and Acala cotton under "new water realities," such as drought and shortages due to water diversion.
Cotton specialist Bob Hutmacher said UC is re-examining nitrogen recommendations for cotton given rising fertilizer costs and diminishing returns for cotton. “Under quite a few different rotations, such as lettuce or others, there may be opportunities to back down on N applications without impacting cotton yields,” Hutmacher was quoted.