"May you live in interesting times..."
-Reported to be a Chinese curse
Farming sure can be challenging. I guess that is what keeps it so interesting…but a little less interesting might be good sometimes. Last year Klamath Basin alfalfa growers had to deal with an outbreak of the blue alfalfa aphid (BAA) and the associated cost of insecticide sprays as well as the yield loss. Fortunately, aphids have not been a problem this year. This may be due to the relatively wet year we have had (especially this spring) providing more favorable conditions for fungi that can keep aphids in check.
Big Year for Intermountain Alfalfa...
All are welcome to attend the 2016 Small Grain/Alfalfa Field Day to be held May 11, 2016 at UC Davis. We will visit field trials, listen to researchers discuss their research, and enjoy a barbeque lunch.
We sincerely hope you can attend
Dan Putnam & Mark Lundy
Plant Sciences, UC Davis
UC Davis Small Grains - Alfalfa/Forages Field Day
Wed, May 11, 2016, UC Davis Plant Sciences Research Farm, Davis, CA*(see directions below)
8:15-4:15 Includes Lunch
PCA Credits: 1.5 hrs.
Hay export quantities are on the rise again in 2015-16, driven by stronger foreign demand, weaker domestic demand that has generated relatively low US prices for hay, and in spite of a strong US dollar. Exports in January-February of 2016 were up 25-35% from the same months last year (Figure 1), and overall 2015 exports increased about 6% compared with 2014 (Table 1). However, 2015 totals were still lower than the peak of 4.5 million tons of hay exported in 2013 (Figure 2).
Figure 1. Export of all hay (alfalfa and grasses) from western ports increased 25-35% in the first two months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
A crop consultant brought in some alfalfa plants and asked if I could help identify the problem. In the field, he was observing stunted plants with shortened internodes and suspected stem nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci). What seemed different this year is that he was seeing these stunted plants intermingled among healthy plants, and in the past, he was accustomed to seeing stunted plants in groups.
Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that use their stylet, or needle-like mouthpart, to puncture plant cells and suck out their contents. The alfalfa stem nematode lives and feeds in the stems and crown of the plant. Symptoms of infection include plant stunting, shortened...
- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
Downy mildew, common on some crops but less common in alfalfa, has been observed this winter in some Sacramento Valley alfalfa fields. In young fields, heavy disease pressure could have a significant effect on first cutting yields, and perhaps even in well-established fields, but it is questionable as to whether it is worth treating.
In plants infected with downy mildew, the upper surface of leaves become lighter in color and in some cases a mottled yellow. The undersides of leaves are often coated with a gray dust (a mass of fungal spores). Sometimes entire buds and leaves become infected, resulting in leaf distortion and a general yellowing. Infected leaves drop off the plant and can reduce yield and quality if the field is...