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...
- Author: Tunyalee Martin
Wildlife and people have been in the news lately. Perhaps you've heard of coyotes wandering in your neighborhood. You might have also read about how you shouldn't feed wildlife. Did you know they are connected? It's a problem when people feed coyotes either intentionally or unintentionally through uncovered garbage and outdoor pet food. Available food may encourage coyotes to associate closely with humans and to lose their natural fear of us. These interactions will be discussed during a special symposium on urban coyotes at the
- Author: Tunyalee Martin
- Author: Chris Laning
Identifying nontarget crop and ornamental plant damage from herbicides has become much easier with the launch of a new online photo repository by the Statewide IPM Program, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
An herbicide applied to manage weeds may move from the site where it was applied in the air or by attaching to soil particles and traveling as herbicide-contaminated soil. When an herbicide contacts a nontarget plant, a plant it was not intended to contact, it can cause slight to serious injury. Herbicide injury also occurs when the sprayer is not properly cleaned after a previous herbicide application. ...