Water Limitations a Major Influence on Crop Protection Advice

A survey conducted at the 2013 California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) conference reveals water limitations as a top grower concern for 2013-2014.

FRESNO, Cal., Nov. 8, 2013 – California faces a tough water situation, with USDA showing 84 percent of the state in extreme to severe drought conditions, following two consecutive years of limited rainfall. According to the California Department of Water resources, water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta serves the majority of the state’s population and irrigates millions of acres of farmland. With that supply at risk, regional growers cannot afford to simply hope for more timely rains and renewed watershed snowfalls.

A recent survey conducted at the 2013 California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) fall conference showed water resources are a significant factor for almost all crop production decisions for citrus, cole crops, cotton, fruiting vegetables, grapes, leafy vegetables, tree fruit, tree nuts and other California crops. The survey, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection, was completed by pest control advisers (PCAs) attending the conference.

More than 80 percent of the PCAs surveyed said water limitations affected some or all of their grower clients in 2013. The survey ranked water quality, irrigation management and crop yield as top concerns.

When asked how they think growers will respond to regional water shortages, PCA top predictions included:

  • Consider alternative crops or new crop production methods
  • Invest more in water use efficiency
  • Fine-tune irrigation systems
  • Use integrated pest management to control pests and weeds that reduce crop production efficiency

“In California and other Western states, efficient water use will require a combination of large- and small-scale solutions,” said Wayne Steele, Western region development manager, DuPont Crop Protection. “DuPont is partnering with pest control advisers and other key influencers in agriculture to offer crop protection recommendations that can help make the most of our precious water supply.”

“As growers complete 2013 and plan for 2014, for example, an effective and timely herbicide program can help control weeds that compete for water and nutrients. This can help optimize crop production while maximizing valuable water resources. Residual weed control is also important. After crops are established, weeds can impede valuable irrigation in the root zone.

Managing insects and diseases can help make the best use of available water, as well, Steele added. “We know that vigorous, healthy crops make more efficient use of available water, so protection from fungal diseases and insects is invaluable.”

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