Jan 24, 2024Avoid Seed Corn Maggots in Spring Melons (2024)To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
The drought-related pressures on the Colorado River system that have been impacting the entire basin and region for 23 years have slackened briefly due to the wet winter in 2023 that included a good snowpack in the mountains, better rainfall throughout the basin, and improved flows into the river. The current water level at Lake Mead on Hoover Dam is 1,068.25 ft. above sea level on 3 January 2024. That level is 160.75 ft below full pool of 1,229.00 ft. (Figure 1).
In mid-December 2023 representatives from each of the seven Colorado River Basin states met in Las Vegas, NV during the annual Colorado River Water Users Association conference. The focus of current discussions among the basin states is to negotiate a new compromise for the guidelines of use under conditions of water shortage. These new guidelines will go into place at the end of 2026. The immediate goal is to draft proposals by March 2024.
The negotiations are incentivized by having the opportunity for the post-2026 guidelines being developed by the basin states themselves as opposed to litigation or legislation. A major concern driving this process among the basin states that basin state representatives should be able to do this better than turning the process over to people and entities that have less direct familiarity with the situation and no real “skin” in the game.
The 1963 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in of the Arizona v California case directed the federal authority on the management of the Colorado River to the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation (BoR). However, the basin states have the chance to negotiate their future management plans on the Colorado River. If they fail to do so in the allotted time, the process will be managed by the federal government.
The basic water budget challenge is based on the following basic statistics:
Some notable progress is being made for conservation of Colorado River water with agreements among lower basin states and tribes that will conserve more than 1.5maf/year through 2026. For example, California water agencies have recently agreed to conserve up to 643,000 acre-feet/year through 2025. The Quechan Indian Tribe has reached an agreement with federal water managers to save up to 39,000 acre-feet/year through 2025. Arizona has agreed to conserve up to 348.00 acre-feet/year through 2026. All these temporary agreements are being supported with federal funding.
With agriculture responsible for 70% of the diversions on the Colorado River, these negotiations are extremely important for the future of agriculture in this region and our capacity to support high population densities that are now common and rapidly growing.
These types of negotiations are certainly challenging in dealing with a limited water supply and a lot of demand. There are many competing interests involved. Yet, we are confident that the representatives we have will be able to work this out and come to a set of functional agreements.
With melon season on full bloom, you will also start seeing diseases on melons. Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder is more of a problem on fall melons but they can also occur in summer melons. Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder is a cucurbit disease caused by a plant virus named Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV; genus Crinivirus, family Closteroviridae). This virus was first detected in southern California and Arizona in 2006 and infects cantaloupe and honeydew melon, watermelon, and various types of squash. CYSDV is transmittedexclusively by the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. Symptoms always start from the oldest leave which is a diagnostic feature of the virus.
All biotypes of B. tabaci known to exist in North America can transmit the virus efficiently, including biotypes A, B and Q. Whitefly transmission is responsible for virus spread over short distances (e.g., within and between fields). However, with high winds whiteflies can move long distances and transport the virus. The virus can stay infectious within whiteflies for up to 9 days. As virus infection is systemic (meaning they have to be circulated inside the plant system to show symptoms) it can take 3 to 4 weeks for disease symptoms to develop following infection. This gives a window for infected symptomless plants can be unknowingly transported and can lead to epidemics. The virus is not transmitted mechanically (by touch, mechanical damage, cuts etc) or via seed. However, the virus can be efficiently transmitted even if there is low whitefly pressure in the field.
The best management approach is to monitor the whitefly population and be proactive with insecticides application. Rotate insecticides with different modes of action Group numbers to minimize development of insecticide resistance. Practice good weed management in and around fields to the extent feasible. Remove and destroy old crops/volunteers, enforce regional cucurbit -free period to eliminate the virus from the cropping system.
Sweet Shield and Novira varieties seem to do well in Yuma area.
Time flies. February is right around the corner and that means it is farm equipment/ag trade show season. Upcoming regional events include the World Ag Expo, Tulare, CA, February 13-15, the Southwest Ag Summit, Yuma, AZ, February 20-22, and AgroBaja, Mexicali, Mexico, March 7-10. If you are interested in the latest ag tech and farm machinery, all are outstanding events and well worth attending. For more information, click on the links below.
Fig. 1. Upcoming farm equipment/ag trade show events: World Ag Expo, Tulare,
CA, February 13-15, 2024 theSouthwest Ag Summit, Yuma, AZ, February 20-
22,2024 and AgroBaja, Mexicali, Mexico, March 7-10, 2024.
Before making decisions for weed control it’s imperative to have a proper identification of the plant species. There are two names for plants:
The common name, which is a name that people come up with in a certain region to describe a particular weed and it varies by region and therefore can be confusing. Then we have an exact scientific name for each species that is based in the binomial nomenclature system started by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. This binomial (or two term) system includes the genus and the species, which is used worldwide1.
Some very close species from the same family can be controlled by the same product but occasionally their herbicidal susceptibility varies. Such is the case of Chenopodium murale (goosefoot) and Chenopodium album (lambsquarter) two very close and similar species. A product like Pursuit (Imazethapyr) has good activity on goosefoot but can’t control lambsquarters. With accurate identification in a mixed population, you would be able to determine what strategy to use or select the herbicide that would control both species.
There are about 75 weeds most common in Arizona and are included in the PCA2 study guide, but many other species could be introduced to the State and complicate our crop production systems. Two great tools for weed identification are the books “An Illustrated Guide to Arizona Weeds” that lists 172 species, and “Weeds of California and Other Western States” which has at least one photograph of 735 weeds.
Another weed identification tool is the book “Weeds of the West”.
Additionally, there are many phone applications that can be used as identification tools such as “id weeds”, “PlantNet”, “PictureThis”, “iNaturalist”, “Seek”, “PlantSnap” and “LeafSnap”. When we have problems with weed ID we contact the UA herbarium.
Thank you for sending samples for Weed ID to the IPM Team it is always a learning experience.