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California crop update and weather summary

A strong high pressure system with very little movement lingered over the Northern California region, bringing unseasonably dry and warm weather across the state, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in Sacramento, Calif.

Temperatures reached from the upper 70s to mid 80s in the Sacramento Valley, reaching to around 90 degrees in the northern cities by the end of the work week. In the Bay Area and the Central Coast, very little fog was reported and the temperature reached the 80s throughout the week.

The southern coasts and mountains experienced warmer temperatures of upper 70s to mid 90s. In the northern mountains, the temperature topped in the mid 70s during this same period. Gusty east to northeast winds over the west slopes of the northern Sierra Nevada kept temperatures slightly warmer than normal overnight. These winds gust to near 35 mph through the canyons.

The high pressure played a key role for the large scale weather over the whole state during this period. A cooling trend with increasing periods of rain is now expected as the fall season becomes more predominant.

Field crops

Field preparation for small grains continued, with some early plantings of wheat germinating. Cotton defoliation and harvest activities were in full swing. Alfalfa harvest continued with the warm, dry weather. Sunflower seed harvest should be complete by mid November. Sudan hay, sorghum, safflower and dry bean harvest continued. Rice harvest was winding down. Harvest of corn for grain and silage was nearing completion.

Fruit crops

Grape growers continued to irrigate, cultivate, and treat to control diseases and insect pests. The raisin grape harvest was complete in most areas. Table grape harvest continued with Christmas Rose, Crimson, Red Globe, Summer Royal, and Autumn Royal the major varieties picked. Wine and juice grape harvests continued.

Autumn Flame, Full Moon, and Snow Magic peaches; Angeleno plums; Flavor Fall pluots; and Arctic Mist nectarines were all picked and packed. Rome Beauty apples and Asian pears were being harvested. Quince, kiwifruit, and jujube harvests continued. Picking of Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons continued.

Early pruning of deciduous trees was gaining momentum. Pomegranate harvest continued with Early Foothill, Wonderful, and Flamingo varieties being picked. Some packing houses were continuing to pick Valencia oranges. Harvest of Navels continued but picking was limited. Mandarins continued to mature. The harvest of desert lemons continued. Olives and avocados were also harvested.

Nut crops

Walnut and pistachio harvests continued. Almond harvest was nearly complete, with late variety shaken nuts being picked up.

Vegetable crops

Processing tomato harvest was complete or nearing completion throughout the state. In Tulare County, the fall pole cucumber harvest continued, but operations were slowing down. Due to warm temperatures, some summer vegetables were still being harvested, such as eggplant, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and bitter melon. Fall sweet corn was picked and shipped to markets. Assorted pumpkin and strawberry stands continued picking for roadside sales.

Stanislaus County growers continued to harvest broccoli, cauliflower as well as both processing and fresh market tomatoes. Merced producers continued to harvest fresh market tomatoes. Kern County’s lettuce harvest was close to completion, while carrots and asparagus continued. Imperial County planted most of its carrots. In Fresno County, garlic and onion harvests were slowing, while the harvests of bell peppers and carrots continued.

Fall broccoli was planted on the West side, fall lettuce was thinned and fall asparagus harvest continued. Fields were weeded, irrigated, fertilized, and treated for insects and mildew. For watermelon, cantaloupe, mixed melon, and honeydew, harvests came to an end. Pumpkin harvest was in full motion.

Arizona NASS report

Cotton harvesting is 41 percent complete across Arizona, 4 percentage points above the five-year average, according to the Arizona NASS office in Phoenix. Cotton condition in the state is mostly good. Alfalfa harvest remains active on over three-quarters of the state’s acreage. Alfalfa conditions are mostly fair to good.

Last week central and western Arizona growers shipped cantaloupes, honeydews, and various citrus.

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