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California weather, crop update from NASS

A slow moving trough of low pressure off the coast of Northern California brought mid and high clouds across the northern part of the state last Monday through Wednesday, according to a Nov. 3 report from the National Agricultural Statistics office in Sacramento, Calif.

Temperatures in the valley were slightly cooler during the beginning part of the week due to the cloud cover; reaching from the mid 70s to near 80 degrees in the Sacramento Valley.

The Southern California coast and mountains experienced warmer temperatures due to dryer weather and fewer clouds; with temperatures ranging from upper 70s to near 100 degrees.

The Central Coast, including the San Francisco Bay area, remained in the 60s to around 70 degrees throughout the week. The overall weather pattern began to change to a more fall-like pattern on Thursday.

Cooler weather with periods of rain became more predominant across the state. A series of weather systems moved across the state throughout the weekend, bringing significant rainfall amounts to the northern parts of the state.

The higher elevations of the northern Sierra Nevada received moderate snowfall amounts as well. On Saturday, gusty winds across the valley and surrounding mountains, and minor flash flooding cases over the wildfire burn scars in the foothills and mountains were confirmed during the peak of the weather event.

Field crops

Field preparation for small grains continued; some early plantings of winter grain were growing well. The planting of barley and wheat advanced quickly.

Cotton defoliation and harvest activities were in full swing. A second cotton defoliation application was being applied to earlier maturing fields. Sunflower seed harvest should be complete by mid-November. Dry bean harvest came to an end.

Sudan hay, sorghum, and safflower harvests continued. Rice harvest was nearing completion. Harvest of corn for grain and silage was nearing completion.

Fruit crops

Grape harvest was active but slow. Crimson, Thompson Seedless, Flame Seedless, Christmas Rose, Kyoho, Red Globe, Summer Royal, and Autumn Royal table grapes were being harvested.

Raisin grape harvest was complete in most areas with only a few varieties remaining to be boxed. Alicante Bouchet, Barbera, Carnelian, Carignane, French Colombard, Merlot, Muscat, Ruby Cabernet, and Thompson Seedless wine and juice grape harvests were also active.

Fall tree topping and pruning were underway in many orchards. Some orchards were being pushed out due to age and poor condition, and being replaced with newer varieties.

Applications of pre-emergent herbicides for the winter had begun.

Stone fruit harvest was almost complete. Autumn Flame, Full Moon, and Snow Magic peaches; Angeleno plums; Flavor Fall pluots; Arctic Mist nectarines were still being picked. Quince, kiwifruit, late season pomegranates, persimmons, apples, Asian pears and jujube harvests also continued.

The Navel orange season began at a steady pace. Packing sheds were harvesting Early Beck’s, Bonanza, and Fukumoto. The maturity level for Navels has been good, but the color remained a problem. A few Satsuma mandarins were being packed. Valencia orange harvest was winding down. Lemons were harvested in the desert areas. Olive harvest was ongoing.

Nut crops

Walnut harvest was nearing the end. There were some reports of replanting trees. Almond pruning and piling of hulls continued.

Vegetable crops

With the last harvests of summer vegetable coming to an end, producers focused their attention on fall vegetables. Tulare County harvested broccoli, cabbage, and Romaine lettuce. The lack of moisture last week caused growers to increase irrigation.

In Fresno County, fields were irrigated, weeded, fertilized, and treated for pests. Fall asparagus, bell pepper, and processing tomato harvests continued, while garlic and onions slowed down.

Fall lettuce continued to be harvested, while fall broccoli was planted on the West Side of the county. A productive pumpkin harvest was in full swing. Merced County completed its watermelon harvest, while the harvests of fresh market tomatoes wound down.

Stanislaus County’s broccoli and cauliflower grew well. Imperial County’s warm weather spurred growth in fall vegetable crops. However, producers hope for cooler temperature to firm up lettuce heads.

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