CROP PROTECTION

Almonds: Growers are finishing up dormant sprays and continuing herbicides, especially with the recent rains. Buds are beginning to swell in some areas, meaning bloom is right around the corner. As we reach bloom, it’s critical to cover blossoms to avoid blossom blight and jacket rot. Remember, it’s important to rotate our chemistries as we do our bloom sprays to extend the life of those fungicides. Be sure to check the frac numbers to best create a strategy for rotating chemistries. Also check the BeeWhere web site to obtain information about bee colonies within a mile of an upcoming pesticide application. Some growers are discussing the use of pheromones for navel orangeworm (NOW) control. If almond acreage continues to grow, prices stay low and sanitation is poor, NOW populations may potentially increase in the future. As this happens, pheromones may become increasingly important to use as an additional resource for NOW control.

Citrus: Growers are applying herbicide treatments and pre-emergents to control weeds. Weed control is vital in citrus for frost control as clean, bare soil tends to retain more heat. Weeds may also rob moisture and nutrients from the trees impacting crop health. As citrus is harvested. PCAs are walking bin lines checking for fruit quality, quantity and size. Checking bins also aids in planning next year’s pest control program. Some growers are doing lo-bi urea sprays to help set more flowers during bud differentiation and induction. Typically, higher nitrogen in the tree may result in higher fruit bud set. If you have dropped fruit down by the skirt keep an eye out for brown rot, especially after these rains. As we gear up for the season, be sure to consult your GAR Bennett PCA about your fertilizer program.

Grapes: We are in the middle of dormancy for this crop. Growers are finishing up pruning and gearing up for another season. Herbicides are also being applied.

Cherries: Growers are finishing up their Dormex applications.

Stone Fruit: With the season fast approaching, growers are near the end of applying dormant sprays. Some varieties won’t start blooming until the middle to end of February, which is typically why these sprays tend to go on for longer than others. Keep in mind that as almonds begin to bloom, bees will be moved into the fields. Check the BeeWhere web site to obtain information about bee colonies within a mile of an upcoming pesticide application. If you’re close to almonds, be sure to spray at night and ensure there are no flowers in the field. You may consider using something other than pyrethroids as those are toxic to bees. Bloom sprays, specifically for blossom blight, are right around the corner as some early blooming varieties are beginning to open. The good news is these rains seem to be pretty cold, which may make the blossoms less susceptible to brown rot. However, it’s still important to get the trees treated on a timely basis. If brown rot starts in a blossom and rain events continue, it may spread through the tree. This infection may occur but not develop until sugar starts coming into the fruit, creating a major brown rot issue at harvest time. For these sprays, think about rotating chemistries as to not overuse any one class of product.

Pistachios: About 2/3 of our pre-emergents have been applied. Keep an eye on chilling hours, especially on the Kerman variety, before the weather begins to warm up again. If you’re low on chilling hours, an oil application may be necessary to get a good, even bloom.

Walnuts: Growers are switching back and forth between field work and winter irrigations. Once fields dry, we will get started on our scale sprays. Pre-emergent herbicides will be going out ahead of forecasted rains.

Tomatoes: Beds are being prepared for the next season’s crop.

Dehydrated Onions: This crop has been planted and pre-emergents have been applied.

Cotton: Due to little water allocations, we don’t expect as much cotton going in the ground this year. Some growers may redirect this water to their permanent crops instead.

Onions: Urea top dressings have been completed. When the weather permits, growers will be doing chemigation with GoalTender at low rates through the sprinklers. Clear skies will allow the cuticle to become thicker, helping your chemigation to better control weeds.

Garlic: Urea top dressings have been completed. When we can get back into the fields, we are at the tail end of doing Macil (Buctril) sprays.

BEE Aware of Neighbors During Applications

Visit beewhere.calagpermits.org and utilize the online resource to locate bees for spray applications. BeeWhere is a comprehensive apiary registration and notification program developed in collaboration with: The California Agricultural Commissioners And Sealers Association (CACASA), CAPCA, CDFA and The California Department of Pesticide Regulation. BeeWhere offers features for beekeepers, pest control advisors (PCAs), and pesticide applicators both through this web site and through participating software vendors.
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CROP NUTRITION

Spring is Just Around the Corner…
contributed by Vanessa Vicencio of Yara North America
All essential plant nutrients are equally important. Each nutrient has multiple roles in plant growth. Applied at the recommended times and rates, the nutrients can have significant effects on crop yield and quality. Nutrients applied can stimulate crop growth during critical crop stages. Foliar nutrition ensures that the tree’s requirements are met throughout key periods of highest nutrient demand during the season.
READ MORE
Irrigation Nitrogen Management Plans (INMPs) – March 1, 2020 Deadline
Don’t wait! The Water Coalition deadline to submit INMPs and Summary Reports is March 1, 2020.
Call GAR Bennett today to begin the INMP and Summary Report process.
Pricing for INMP assistance is based on the date we receive your completed packet of information:*
  • $350 if received after January 1
  • $500 if received after coalition March 1 deadline
*Additional charges may apply for incomplete or missing data
*Pricing is adjusted for late harvest crops, please inquire
For a full description of our INMP services, please contact: 
Gabby Nikolich | 559.908.2269 | agronomy@garbennett.com

WATER SERVICES

Are you Dialed in for the Season?
As we gear up for the upcoming season, we want to start thinking about evaluating our irrigation systems and checking existing filter stations. It’s important to be prepared early and ensure your filter station and system are ready to go for when the season ramps up. GAR Bennett’s water services team can do a once over of your system before or after you fire up to address any problem areas. Our team will perform an overall maintenance check and evaluate the following:
  • Sand Media Tanks: checking sand media levels and quality of the sand, while also assessing if water treatment is needed.
  • Wiring connections and control boxes.
  • Solenoids and filters: checking to see if everything is flushing properly.
  • Command hoses: checking for leaks.
  • Controllers: dialing them in to ensure everything is set up properly.
While checking your system, our water services experts can also assess your lines for gopher or squirrel damage. During the winter, passings through the field are typically minimal, creating the perfect environment for rodents like gophers and squirrels. Gophers tend to be the number one enemy for subsurface drip irrigation (SDI), while squirrels will chew tissue off roots and tear apart above ground hose. GAR Bennett’s gopher control technicians can help to eliminate existing populations while providing continued service to keep new rodents out, protecting your irrigation system.
Begin the season hassle-free and give our GAR Bennett team a call today for expert service and support. You can rest assured that your system will be optimized to run at peak capacity.

COMPLIANCE

WORKER SAFETY

Pesticides remain a hot topic for the worker safety team into New Year. The team hasn’t forgotten about COVID-19; in fact, our team has been busier than ever training and updating employees on the new COVID-19 regulations that were implemented January 1. The main concern is to ensure employees continue to wear proper face coverings and maintain physical distance between co-workers. Proper employee hygiene practices should be followed as well to keep the workplace running at full capacity during the winter months. Our trainers can help farms implement the proper guidelines to keep everyone safe at work! Reach out to the worker safety department today for current updates on regulatory concerns!

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FOOD SAFETY

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was a popular topic with farmers in 2020. Going into the New Year, growers are beginning to learn the requirements to be compliant with this law. Our food safety team has upgraded the grower program to ensure all requirements are met not only with their packing houses and marketers, but with federal guidelines as well. Our consultants will help streamline all water testing needed, including assistance with nitrate + nitrite testing for Water Coalitions into Geo-Tracker and much more. Our MRL program will ensure the correct chemicals have been applied at the precise amount to stay in compliance with country limits for export. Reach out to the food safety team today to help your farm stay in compliance!
Click HERE to avoid hefty fines by contacting our food and worker safety teams.
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WHAT’S HAPPENING

Are You Watching Season 2 of American Grown: My Job Depends on Ag?
The series airs Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. on Valley PBS. You can also stream the show online at americangrownTV.com. American Grown highlights the stories of people in agriculture, giving a voice to multiple sides on important matters impacting the industry.
COVID vaccines slow to reach farmworkers
By Western Farm Press
Farm industry representatives in Arizona and California are disappointed with how slowly COVID vaccinations are being provided to farmworkers and the agricultural community.
Tim Dunn, a House member in the Arizona Legislature whose district includes Yuma, said the state has grossly under shorted agricultural communities through its census-based approach to allocating COVID vaccines.
“We have 6,900 vaccines for the whole city,” Dunn said. – Read More
Ag Research to Be Expanded Through Strengthened USDA-NASA Partnership
By Brian German, AgNet West
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be assisting thousands of farmers and ranchers by providing some debt relief. USDA announced it is temporarily suspending past-due debt collections and foreclosures for producers borrowing under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs. Non-judicial foreclosures, debt offsets, and wage garnishments are also being suspended. The agency will also stop referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice (DOJ). – Read More
Pesticide report renews debate on health risks
By John Cox, The Bakersfield Californian
A new report showing greater use of pesticides in Kern and other Central Valley counties has rekindled a discussion about whether enough is being done to protect local communities from health risks presented by certain agricultural practices. The state released numbers late last month indicating the total volume of pesticides applied statewide rose 1.3 percent between 2017 and 2018 to reach 209 million pounds, the second-highest total in at least 20 years. More recent figures have not been released. – Read More