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California Crop Weather April 20

Here is the April 20, 2009 California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Sacramento, Calif.

• Weather

A trough of low pressure moved across the northern part of the state during the beginning part of the week. This feature combined with some diurnal heating and orographic effect brought some isolated showers over the Sierra Nevada, the Coastal range, and the Northern Mountains.

Breezy north winds were also reported along the Sacramento Valley and surrounding foothills during this time period.

Otherwise, warm and dry weather persisted for the most part throughout the observed period; under the influence of a ridge of high pressure located over eastern Pacific Ocean.

The temperature across the state had a gradual increase from mid-week through the weekend as ridge of high pressure slowly moved over the region, bringing very limited breezes through the state and portions of the interior mountain terrain.

In the valley and surrounding foothills, daytime high temperatures started in the mid 60s and 70s, and by the end of the weekend, they climbed into the low 90s.

Higher elevation temperatures rose from the low 60s to mid 70s. Along the California coast, temperatures ranged from the mid 60s to mid 70s during the same time period. The observed period ended up with daytime high record temperatures across the Valley, surrounding foothills, and southern parts of the state.

• Field crops

Some dryland grain fields were showing poor development due to lack of rainfall. Oat, barley, and wheat maturity dwindled due to below normal temperatures and overcast conditions. Cutting of winter forage and other small grains for silage continued.

Growers will plant lima and freezer beans in the upcoming weeks. Rice fields were in all stages: unplowed, plowed once, applying water, and other intermediate cultivations. Rice fields were rolled, flooded, and a few fields were planted.

The second cutting of alfalfa fields was in progress in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Corn fields continued to be planted. Cotton planting was underway. Potatoes continued to be harvested. Sweet potato transplanting and hot bed digging continued in Merced.

Fruit crops

Grape tying continued while vines leafed out. Spraying for mildew was necessary for some vineyards. Fruit tree bloom was mostly complete in the Sacramento Valley. Persimmon-stem elongation continued. Kiwis in the Sacramento Valley leafed out.

Irrigation was necessary for most orchards throughout the state.

Strawberry harvest began in the SJV. Early varieties of blackberries were starting to bloom in Tulare County. Cold temperatures caused some frost damage on pomegranate, kiwifruit, and table grapes in the SJV.

Late varieties of Navel oranges continue to be packed. Exports of Navel and Valencia oranges, lemons, and tangelos continued. The Valencia orange harvest gained speed with good maturity and fruit quality.

• Nut crops

Almonds grew in size on the trees throughout the state. Scouting for ants in orchards began. Walnut-blight pesticide applications continued but were dictated by weather conditions. Orchards were flamed for weed control. Close monitoring of reservoir water supplies continued.

• Vegetable crops

The rate of harvest began to increase for head lettuce in Monterey County. In Kern County, lettuce was showing good progress and harvest was expected to begin soon.

Potatoes, corn, and tomatoes were planted in San Joaquin County, where asparagus continued to be harvested. The harvest of asparagus in Merced County also progressed, while fresh market and processing tomatoes continued to be planted.

Ground preparation and planting of tomato transplants and seed tomatoes continued in Sutter County. Winds in Fresno County damaged tomato plants, causing some to be replanted. Broccoli seed bloomed. Onions, garlic, and carrots were irrigated and fertilized.

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