RDO Water in Indio Moves to RDO Equipment Co. Store

Agriculture equipment, parts and service, and irrigation solutions now in one location RDO-Equipment-Co

Author: RDO Water

RDO Water and RDO Equipment Co. announce RDO Water in Indio has relocated into the existing RDO Equipment Co. store at 83-300 Avenue 45. The move brings to the store RDO Water’s full irrigation solutions including pipe and system rental; pipe and pump repair; system automation, design and installation services; consulting services; and products including drip tape, sprinkler heads and fertilizer.

RDO Equipment Co. in Indio is a full-service John Deere agriculture and construction equipment dealer with both new and used equipment, a vast parts inventory, and highly-trained service department. Not only does moving to a larger building enhance RDO Water’s offerings, it opens additional opportunities for customers as well.

“We want to provide our customers with the opportunities and solutions they need to be successful,” Bruce Daughters, Vice President of RDO Water said. “By combining our agricultural equipment, service, and irrigation solutions, we’re offering customers new opportunities and ways to enhance their business, enabling them to maximize that success.”

In addition to the Indio store, RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water have combo stores in Salinas and Watsonville, California. The company has 16 total stores throughout the state of California.

A grand opening celebration is planned at the Indio store. Customers and partners can stay up-to-date on details by visiting the RDO Water and RDO Equipment Co. websites.

Butterflies May Signal Future Alfalfa Problems

Alfalfa caterpillars, the larvae of butterfly eggs, can cause reductions in yield and quality Butterflies-Alfalfa

Author: Mike Rankin, Hay & Forage Grower

Butterflies in alfalfa fields may be free and make for a good photo opportunity, but they also can indicate future alfalfa worm-feeding issues. That’s the warning coming out of Central California where alfalfa fields are awash with yellow and white butterflies this summer.

“Some alfalfa fields appear more yellow and white than green with outbreaks of alfalfa caterpillar butterflies in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys,” notes Rachael Long, an extension farm advisor in the region. “In certain cases, the populations have been massive,” she recently reported in the University of California extension’s Alfalfa & Forage News.

It’s not that the butterflies do any direct damage, but the eggs they lay soon develop into larvae known as alfalfa caterpillars. The yellow butterflies, sometimes referred to as sulfur butterflies, are cyclical, occurring in large numbers every few years. According to Long, contributing to high populations are factors such as slow and uneven alfalfa growth, a lack of predator insects such as the parasitoid wasp, and hot, dry weather.

The alfalfa caterpillar worm is green with a white stripe along each side. “They consume entire leaves and strip a plant, causing significant reductions in yield and quality if numbers are high enough,” Long notes. In severe cases, plants can be completely stripped of the high-value leaves.

Sulfur butterflies and the associated alfalfa caterpillar are not confined to California. The species can be found throughout the United States. According to the “Compendium of Alfalfa Diseases and Pests” (Third Edition), this pest does the most damage in the southwestern U.S., usually on irrigated fields. In southern regions, up to seven generations can occur, whereas in northern locations there may be as few as two.

The economic threshold for controlling alfalfa caterpillars is 10 healthy, nonparisitized caterpillars per sweep of the net. California specialists recommend scouting for the pest in conjunction with armyworms. They have produced a video that helps growers and consultants identify the worms, their natural parasite enemies, and how to differentiate a healthy worm from one that is parasitized.

If treatment thresholds are reached and the field is not close to harvest maturity, there are several chemical control options available for spraying alfalfa. Products containing the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are also an option. Long reports that a number of fields in Central California have already required chemical applications to control their worm outbreak.

Full article shared from Hay & Forage Grower website.

California Snowpack Larger Than Average

Water experts and farmers still cautious for the long-term outlook

Author: Kate Campbell, Ag Alert

California-SnowpackWith the Sierra Nevada snowpack standing at or above average going into what typically is the year’s key period for precipitation, California farmers and ranchers are watching the skies and hoping for a dent in the state’s multi-year drought. But memories of past winters that started strongly, then fizzled, leave farmers and water experts cautious.
When the state Department of Water Resources took the season’s first manual survey of the snowpack last week, it found water content of the snow at the survey site had reached 136 percent of the long-term average. Snow sensors placed throughout the Sierra put the statewide water content at 105 percent.
Forecasts of additional storms in the first week of January brought further cause for optimism—especially in the wake of the bone-dry January of a year ago—but DWR Director Mark Cowin cautioned that another three or four months of surveys will be needed to indicate “whether the snowpack’s runoff will be sufficient to replenish California’s reservoirs by this summer.”
For example, Lake Oroville in Butte County, the principal State Water Project reservoir, now holds about 47 percent of its historical average for the date. Lake Shasta north of Redding, the largest reservoir in the federal Central Valley Project, stands at about 50 percent of average storage, while San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-delta holding facility for both the SWP and CVP, remains at 30 percent of average.
State water officials said it will be difficult to rebuild those storage levels quickly.
In average years, the Sierra snowpack provides about 30 percent of California’s water needs as it melts each summer.
“One thing that puts a smile on my face is looking east and seeing snow on the mountains,” Kern County farmer Pete Belluomini said. “The last couple of years, we’ve been watching the snowpack and it was bleak, but now things are looking more positive.”
Belluomini said farmers in his area have already heard from their local irrigation districts that, if the drought situation doesn’t improve, they can expect less irrigation water in 2016.
“We’re planning for the worst-case scenario and hoping it doesn’t come to that,” he said.
“Farmers have been forced to be thrifty and smart,” Belluomini added. “They’ve figured out ways to save water and I hope will continue to use those conservation techniques and ideas as part of everyday life, not just life in an emergency. That’s how our company thinks, and the drought offered lessons we’ve learned.”
With the El Niño weather pattern offering the prospect of additional storms reaching California beginning this month, California Farm Bureau Federation Director of Water Resources Danny Merkley urged operators of state and federal water projects to take full advantage of storm flows.
“Any rainstorms that create flows in excess of what is necessary for the ecosystem, fish, delta water quality and vested water users must be diverted to surface storage and good groundwater recharge areas, rather than being allowed to flow into the Pacific Ocean,” Merkley said.
The prospect of a rebuilding Sierra snowpack also underlines the need for California to update its “aging water infrastructure,” he said, to capture flows in future wet years that can provide water to farms, cities and the environment during prolonged dry periods.
“Upper watershed management, new water storage facilities, groundwater recharge and being sure to operate facilities for today’s weather conditions and environmental policies are all necessary tools in the 21st century,” Merkley said.
Taking advantage of excess flows during times of plenty is also key to recharging groundwater basins, he noted.
In his area, Belluomini said, groundwater levels appear to be stabilizing.
“We seem to have found an equilibrium with our groundwater and we’re cautiously optimistic about our water supply going into this year,” he said.
Colusa County farmer John Garner, who chairs the CFBF Water Advisory Committee, said the drought should have taught California that the state must be “truly honest” about its water needs.
“Our current water storage capacity is not adequate to serve all of California, and that has been true for decades,” he said. “I don’t see that reality changing in the future—even with full reservoirs. We need water infrastructure that allows for more storage and flexibility in our water supply management system.”
Merkley said the Proposition 1 water bond approved by California voters in November 2014 provides $2.7 billion in money for water storage, which he described as “a down payment” on needed development. He said Farm Bureau has been working with the California Water Commission on its Water Storage Investment Program, to identify projects that would have the largest impact on statewide water infrastructure.
Later this year, Merkley said, the Water Commission will finalize the regulations needed to allow competitive review of the projects submitted for funding.
“We will continue to urge the commission to move the process along as expeditiously as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, at Phillips Station in the Sierra, where DWR conducted its manual snow survey, survey chief Frank Gehrke said the snowpack is “much better” than it was last year at this time.
“If we believe the forecasts, then El Niño is supposed to kick in as we move through the rest of the winter,” Gehrke said. “That will be critical when it comes to looking at reservoir storage.”
(Kate Campbell is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at kcampbell@cfbf.com.)
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.