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California crop and weather report


A ridge of high pressure was passing over California at the start of the week, resulting in dry conditions with above normal temperatures across most of the state. The high pressure moved quickly east as a low pressure trough pushed through the region on Tuesday. This resulted in a dramatic cool down across the state, with daytime highs Tuesday running 15 to 20 degrees cooler than on Monday. The low pressure system was relatively dry; the only precipitation was observed along the northern coast and over some of the northern mountains. By midweek, weak high pressure began to rebuild over the West Coast, resulting in another warm up across the state, along with an offshore flow which brought dry conditions. Friday saw another switch in patterns, a low pressure trough swept into the state. The wind patterns again switched to onshore, resulting in cool and cloudy conditions across the coastal areas, and cooler conditions across all the state. Once again, precipitation from this system proved to be spotty, with only a few isolated reports of light rain being noted.

Field crops

Winter forage and other small grain harvests continued across the state. Dryland grain was being cut for hay as conditions dry the ground. The first cutting of alfalfa continued to wind down. Early planted corn and cotton emergence continued. Rice field preparation and planting continued. Mustard seed continued in full bloom. Sugar beet harvest was underway. Safflower fields remained in various stages of growth. Cilantro for seed fields were blooming. Sweet potato planting advanced.

Fruit crops

Grapes were pushing out and vines were leafing. Irrigation was taking place in vineyards and orchards. Apples, cherries, pears, pomegranates, jujubes and prunes were still blooming in parts of Fresno County. Bloom was ending on cherries and prunes in Tulare County. Many stone fruit trees were thinned. Prunes were showing a good set in Tulare County. Set for prunes, cherries, pears and cling peaches appeared light in Yuba County. Kiwi flower buds were out in Yuba County. Spring strawberries, boysenberries and blueberries were still blooming. Picking was underway in some spring strawberry fields. New blueberry bush planting continued. Mandarins, minneolas, lemons, pummelos and oranges were harvested. Valencia maturity tests were good. Navel oranges were showing more rind break down and puff. Citrus bloom continued. Flower buds were forming on olives.

Nut crops

Almond groves throughout California were in excellent condition. The crop was developing well and disease pressure remained low given the lack of rainfall. Growers fertilized and irrigated their groves. Catkins were out on walnuts. Pistachios were blooming. More acres of almonds and pistachios were being planted in Kern County.

Vegetable crops

Sweet corn has emerged in Tulare and Fresno counties. Melon beds were being prepared for spring planting. Transplanting of bell peppers, tomatoes for fresh and processing markets, and melons continued. Nearly all caps have been removed for tomatoes and plants were showing good growth. Early squash has started to show set. Carrots were being irrigated, cultivated, treated with herbicides, and harvested. Asparagus, broccoli and head lettuce harvests on the Westside continued. Farmer’s market crops such as amaranth, basil, bok choy, beets, leeks, kale, greens, radishes and yams were being harvested. Imperial Valley onion fields will start harvest in a week or two with sweet corn harvest numbers increasing. In the Central Valley, planting of fresh market and processing tomatoes and bell peppers continued. Spinach for the processing market was being harvested. In Tulare County squash harvest slowed due to cooler weather; quality remained good. Cucumbers have started to size up.

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