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California crop weather report from NASS

Here is the latest California crop weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., field office as to March 22.


High pressure was beginning to build over California at the start of the week, ejecting a low pressure system which had brought some precipitation to the state the previous weekend.

The high pressure continued to strengthen through the week, with daytime temperatures warming to well above normal levels across the state. On Saturday, a cold Pacific storm system reached the Northern California coast and spread showers and much cooler air across the state, moving from the northwest.

By Sunday, the precipitation and cool air had spread completely across California, bringing valley rain and mountain snow to most portions of the state.

Field crops

Weed spraying in wheat, oat, and sorghum grain fields was still underway. Wheat was doing well in Kern County. Early planted fields of wheat and oats were progressing. Growers continued with field preparations for spring planting.

Pre-treatment weed control was ongoing in safflower fields. Alfalfa for forage was being cut in Tulare County. Newly planted alfalfa fields were being irrigated and established fields were treated with herbicides to remove weeds.

Winter silage continued to grow well. Field preparations continued for cotton, corn, and bean planting. Inventories of summery hay were being depleted. Sweet potato hotbeds continued to be planted. Potatoes continued to be harvested.

Fruit crops

Irrigation began in vineyards, and site prep, such as herbicide spraying, continued. Grape buds were still swelling. Bloom continued in apple, peach, cherry, nectarine, pluot, prune, and pear orchards.

In the Sacramento Valley Cling peach bloom was complete and leafing out occurred in some areas. Mowing of orchard center rows began in valley. Persimmons were beginning to leaf out in the valley as well.

Bee hives remained in stone fruit orchards throughout the state. Orchard clippings were mulched in the San Joaquin Valley in lieu of burning. Scattered freeze damage to orchard crops was reported in parts of the San Joaquin Valley.

Spring strawberries and blueberries were blooming. Kiwis began to show leaves but no blossoms. Olive orchard maintenance continued.

New growth and buds were apparent on citrus trees but bloom had not yet arrived. Washington, Nucellar, and Atwood navel oranges were still being picked. Harvest ramped up for Minneola and W. Murcott mandarins as well as Valencia oranges. Some mandarin orchards in the San Joaquin Valley were covered with nets to discourage cross pollination.

Nut crops

Compost, fertilizers, and blight treatments were applied to walnut orchards. Scattered freeze damage was reported in parts of the San Joaquin Valley. Irrigation began in almond orchards. Pistachio trees were blooming.

Vegetable crops

Broccoli and cauliflower harvests were underway in Monterey. Processing spinach was nearing harvest while processing broccoli was being picked on the west side of Stanislaus. Plantings of squash and cucumbers continued to germinate under hot caps in Tulare. Greenhouse vegetables were also being harvested.

In Merced, radicchio harvest finished as asparagus cutting continued. Fresh and processed tomato fields were being planted. In other areas, carrots were being planted while harvest remained underway in Imperial. Onions were fertilized, treated with pesticides, and irrigated.

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