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April 2014


“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

- Winston Churchill


So in the spirit of proving Winston wrong, here are a couple of issues that will impact you.  


Do you take your irrigation water for granted?  Do you assume that it will always be available for your use?  But you say I own my water, I have stock certificates that prove my ownership!


In the July 2012 newsletter ( ) I wrote about a constitutional initiative pertaining to the doctrine of public trust (water rights). It failed to make the ballot due to a lack of petition signatures.  This issue is coming around again.  If enacted it will change our ability to farm!  The following links may be more than you want to read, but worth a quick overview to get an understanding of the issue.


Senate Bill 14-115 was recently was introduced to give the legislature a “say” in the State’s water plan.  Since 2006, nine basin roundtables (committees) comprised of more than 300 members have been working on a plan to deal with the future water shortage in the state.  At the heart of the issue, the West Slope has water that the Front Range communities want.


EPA recently announced proposed revisions to the Worker Protection Standard.  The link below is a good comparison of the proposed changes.

EPA wants your input on these changes.  You can do just that using this link:



When should I spray?  That’s a question that comes our way often.  How does the Cropworx team know the answer for your orchard?  Biophenometers, traps, experience and knowledge of the entire region.   Every year in February, we place  biophenometers in Palisade, Olathe, Eckert, Paonia, Rogers’ Mesa and Cedaredge.  A biophenometer is a self-contained device that works around the clock keeping track of temperature data.  This data is used to track development of your favorite pests.  We also have a network of pheremone traps for each pest, in each of these areas.  Once a biofix (the start of continuous trap catch) is obtained, we will note the biophenometer reading and start accumulating degree days.  Each pest has a phenology unique to it.  The decision to spray along with the timing needs to be further refined by pest populations in your block, daily temps just prior to spraying and the choice of materials you plan to use.  For example, if the population in your orchard is low, it may be advisable to delay a bit, or if you farm at the lowest elevation in your area you may want to be a few days early.   As new materials become more pest specific and active on a particular life stage, timing becomes more critical.  Every year we work at refining our pool of knowledge that is use to determine spray timings.  We make notes of who suffers pest damage and why.  Damage is not always the result of poor timing.  It can be insufficient spray coverage or the wrong material. 


Controlling any pest is a matter of:

1)Using the .  Choose a material that will do the job.  Is resistance an issue?  Use a high enough rate to do the job or change classes.  Is it a special need and/or timing material? Does it need buffering or a spreader?  Is storage temperature an issue? 

2) of your application.  All pests have an optimum time to control them.  Do you know that timing for each pest in orchard?

3).  Have you ever walked behind your sprayer and looked at your coverage, looked at all the dry areas in your tree?  Water volume is not the issue!  I’ve seen dry spots behind a 300 GPA application.  I recently heard Mike Doerr make the comment that he has seen trees that you could park the sprayer underneath and still not get good coverage.   Excessive speed is probably the biggest roadblock to thorough spray coverage.  An air blast sprayer must move the “resident” air from inside the tree before it can replace it with the spray laden air.  


Did you know that Cropworx is the largest supplier of seed on the West Slope?  We carry a wide array of orchard cover crops, grass pasture mixes, alfalfas, small grains and corn seed.  Whatever your seed needs, we can fill your planter!  For over twenty years Bob Starr has been watching the performance and success of different varieties of seed planted in our area.  If you have a question on what to plant, or when to plant it, or how to plant it…..give Bob a call!


Spring is the most stressful time of the year for any fruit tree.  Your orchard is drawing from reserves as it progresses through bloom.  Soil temperatures are cold and limiting on nutrient availability.  Fruit size is partially determined by the number of cells each fruit contains.  Cell division occurs immediately after bloom (from 14 to 28 days after) when nutritional stress is at a peak.  Healthy, well fed trees are better able to handle and size large crops, survive winter injury and pull buds through spring frosts. Next years’ flower buds are determined this season.  Keeping a tree well fed is a year round program.  Properly timed foliar applications of nutrients can help relief the stress!

The following is a seasonal use guide for nutrition.  Remember, foliar feeding by definition implies the presence of active, growing leaves!  The absorption of minerals through twigs and bark is minimal at best.

SEASON               PHYSIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY                           CRITICAL ELEMENTS

  Spring                 Bud-break & Initial growth                           N & P

 Early Season      Flowering, Foliage growth,                          N, P, Zn, B & Other Micros

                                                Pollination, Fruit set

 Mid Season       Fruit & Foliage growth                                   Ca, K, Mg & P

 Late Season       Sizing & Maturation                                          Ca, P &

Postharvest        Nutrient Storage                                                 N, B & Zn


“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson


A common remark (but not a new one) is that Glyphosate doesn’t work very well, what else do you have to control weeds with?  As with insecticides and fungicides, resistance to herbicides is a very real concern.  There are a number of herbicide classes and programs available to avoid resistance problems.  With any herbicide it’s important to use them properly to avoid this issue.

The basic ingredient in most generic glyphosate products is the same. Monsanto manufactures most of the technical grade glyphosate used in the United States for the formulation of generic products by other suppliers. What may be different and undetectable on the label is the amount and quality of the surfactants in the formulation. Additional surfactant (Bio 90) is relatively inexpensive and will go a long way toward ensuring reliable, consistent performance.

Tim Smith, an extension agent with WSU, put together a demonstration project using “low volume” Roundup applications.  He used a 1:1 ratio of Roundup and surfactant. For every quart of Roundup in the mix there was also a quart of surfactant. He later reduced the surfactant to 1 pint for every quart of Roundup with little or no reduction in weed control.  What Tim found out however, was that the concentration of the glyphosate in the mix is very important. For average to kill weeds (annual grasses, young broad leaf weeds, etc) an adequate concentration is one quart in 20 gallons (1.25%) of water plus the surfactant. For difficult to kill weeds (bindweed, clovers, mature lambsquarter, mallow, etc)               2 quarts of glyphosate per 20 gallons (2.5%) of water is needed.

All glyphosate products work best when applied in concentrated, low volume applications.

Tim Smith did his work at 20 gallons per acre. Roundup PowerMax is formulated to work best at 12 to 15 gallons of water per acre. It does not perform as well when applied at 50 gallons per acre.  Using a higher rate of water per acre may make you feel better because it’s easier to see the spray pattern and the weed looks wetter, but it’s costing you money. And in most cases the weeds won’t be any more dead after two weeks. In fact they will die slower with a low concentration, high volume application than they will when a high concentration, low volume application is used.

Take a look at this example.  2 quarts of Glystar in 30 gallons is a 1.6% concentration.  1 pint in 6 gallons is a 2% concentration.  You use 75% less herbicide when you reduce the water volume by 75%.  Because the concentration is higher the effectiveness is greater!  A warning is in order here.  Low volumes combined with high pressure are quick to drift upwards into the tree. The balancing act is to keep the water volume and pressure as low as possible while still maintaining a good spray pattern.  Fifteen gallons of water is a good target to aim for.   The choice of spray nozzles you use is critical to the success of your program.

Water is a good solvent and picks up impurities easily.  As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution.  Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common mineral salts that make water “hard”.  Both of these elements are present in water as strongly charged positive ions that will bind to the negatively-charged glyphosate molecule.  Glyphosate that is bound up with these salts is less readily absorbed by plants.  Under alkaline (high pH) conditions this problem is more severe because the minerals become even more soluble.

Because of this issue the labels of all products containing glyphosate recommend the addition of ammonium sulfate (AMS) to the spray tank.   .  Before you add herbicide to the tank, mix in 10 pounds of spray grade ammonium sulfate per 100 gallons of water.  Ammonium Sulfate will bind to the mineral salts and tie them up before the herbicide can, and as a bonus help acidify the water. 


Our goal at Cropworx is to make your business more profitable.  Helping you maximize your harvest of quality fruit through sound IPM and horticultural practices.    We strive to make your relationship with us one that adds to your bottom line!

We know you have a choice when you purchase materials.  Thank You for choosing CROPWORX!


Questions?  Please give us a call!

Cropworx 970-835-3335                Larry 970-234-3424          Dan 480-254-3025

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