Colusa County
University of California
Colusa County

Vegetable Crops

Field Observations and Year Review 2017

Processing Tomatoes

2017 was not an ideal year for processing tomato producers. Southern blight, a soilborne fungal pathogen, was found in at least 5 fields in Colusa County. The late plantings and high heat most likely contributed to the higher prevalence of the disease in the Sacramento Valley. More information on southern blight can be found in the December 2017 Veg Crops Newsletter.

Other issues from farm visits included:

  • Corky root rot
  • Pelargonium zonate spot virus- a seedborne virus in such low levels it should not cause economic damage
  • Herbicide injury- new growth distorted, plants were otherwise healthy- plants recovered
  • Insecticide injury- superficial necrotic spots- plants recovered
  • Fusarium root and crown rot



An insect survey was conducted in 19 fresh-market melon fields (honeydew, cantaloupe) during the 2017 season. This survey was conducted to determine the effectiveness of yellow sticky card traps at monitoring for major melon pests, specifically cucumber beetles, and to gain a preliminary understanding of the pest pressure in the area. Though all pests were caught on the traps, cucumber beetles were seen in the field before they were seen on the traps and the traps did not depict the large numbers of beetles seen in the field.

Preliminary survey of insects in commercial melon fields in Northern California

Other issues I received calls about included:

  • Striped cucumber beetle larvae feeding in roots of caged squash grown for seed
  • Pinching off of cantaloupe seedlings
  • Johnsongrass in honeydew
  • Bacterial wilt in watermelon grown for seed
  • Charcoal rot in cantaloupe
  • Abiotic stresses on pumpkin- most likely heat and water stress

Vegetable Crops Program

I started my position as the Area Vegetable Crops Advisor in April 2016. I am continuing to develop and implement a multi-county-based extension and applied research program focusing on the priority needs of clientele in the area of vegetable crop production systems in Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties (headquartered in Colusa). My program focuses on pest management of insects, diseases, and weeds. 

The main vegetable crops grown in Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties are processing tomatoes, cucurbits (melons and squash), and seed production, with minimal vegetable production occurring in Yuba County. In the state of California, processing tomato production accounts for 96% of US production. Processing tomatoes are one of Colusa County’s top agricultural commodities, a county also home to two tomato processing plants. Processing tomatoes rank 5th in Sutter County for agricultural commodities.

California ranks first in the country for fresh-market cantaloupe and honeydew production. Sutter County is one of the top honeydew producing counties in California. Cantaloupe production is still relatively new in the Sacramento Valley and has increased in the last ten years.

cantaloupe D11 2

Plans for 2018

Starting in 2018, Area Agronomy Advisor, Sarah Light, and myself will be conducting a 3 year soil health project by implementing cover crops on a field in Sutter County where both field crops and processing tomatoes will be planted. 

I will also be monitoring southern blight levels and spread in processing tomato fields in Colusa County.  



For questions regarding vegetable crops, please contact Amber Vinchesi in our office at 530-458-0575, or by email at




UC-IPM Pest Management Guidelines




Processing tomatoes

Cost study Furrow-irrigated 2014: process-tomato-furrow

Cost study Drip-irrigated 2017: process-tomato-dripirrigated



Pest Management Strategic Plan for melons 2016: 2016 CA Melon PMSP

Crop timeline: Crop timeline for melons


UC Vegetable Research and Information Center

Page Last Updated: February 15, 2018
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