An experimental variety of Pima cotton growing at the Westside Research and Extension Center near Five Points, Calif. Growers planted about 116,000 acres of Pima cotton in California, compared to less than 50,000 acres of Upland/Acala cotton.
As of the end of October cotton harvest was effectively done in California and nearly complete in Arizona.
For California cotton growers, rain and the rare probability of more during the current drought cycle pushed them to defoliate as soon as possible and get the crops up before the threat of El Niño rains became a reality.
California cotton grower Cannon Michael, president of Bowles Farming Company in Los Banos, reported a mix-bag of results after announcing in the last week of October that his Acala, Pima and Hazera varieties were on their way to the gin.
“Our Pima did a little less than what we wanted but our Acala and Hazera averaged a little over three-and-a-quarter bales,” Michael said.
Michael farms in the northern growing region of the San Joaquin Valley, where heat units tend to be lower and the growing season a little shorter than counties like Tulare, Kings and Kern.
Growing Pima in the region is a little more difficult because of the cooler climate, Michael says. Growing a hybrid like Hazera is an attempt to manage the best of both worlds between production and fiber length in the region.
“It’s hard for us to grow Pima up here,” he said. “The Hazera does a little better; the length is good and the strength is a little less than Pima.”
All of Michael’s cotton is roller ginned at Pacific Gin in Cantua Creek.