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California Crop Weather: cool, wet weather delays crops

California Crop Weather: cool, wet weather delays crops

Cool, wet weather common across many areas of California in late May; Alfalfa was cut and baled ranging from the first to the third cutting; The olive bloom began in the San Joaquin Valley while the grape bloom ended;  Cooler temperatures delayed almond development - nut fill has been slow. 

The latest California Crop Weather report from the California Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, released May 31.


Winter-like cold fronts entered California the last week of May. A front entered extreme Northern California Monday and rainfall amounts ranged from .50 inches of rain along the northern coast to about .20 inches further inland. The northern mountains received two to five inches of snow above 5,000 feet.

By Wednesday, a very strong cold front brought rainfall. Rates were .25 inches to 1.00 inch in the valley. The mountains received six to eight inches of new snow near Donner Summit.

Two confirmed tornadoes occurred in the Sacramento Valley between Willows and Paradise with extensive tree wreckage and minor damage to a few homes. The tornadoes were associated with a strong cold front and thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon.

On Saturday, another front brought precipitation from Eureka to Southern California. Six to 12 inches of snow fell in the mountains above 6,000 feet Saturday. 

Throughout the week, California daytime highs were well below normal by 10 to 20 degrees. Average highs in the valley and around the Los Angeles area should be in the 80s. Highs were in the 60s to middle 70s. The only exception was in the desert of Southern California with highs in 90s to around 103.

Field crops

Spring field work continued with weed control in small grain and alfalfa fields, pre-plant herbicide applications, and spring tillage to prepare seedbeds.

Cool temperatures slowed small grain dry down in winter wheat, barley, and oats.

Alfalfa was cut and baled throughout the state ranging from the first to the third cutting. Green chop of winter forages continued in Tulare County.

Rice field preparation and planting continued in the Sacramento Valley. Corn and sorghum were planted.

Cotton planting was complete in most areas of the state. Adequate soil moisture and slow cotton plant development delayed irrigation in some areas while others began as needed. Insect pressure has been light.

Fruit crops

The Valencia orange and grapefruit harvests continued normally in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV), as the Navel orange, lemon, and mandarin harvests continued to wind down. Picking of lemons and grapefruit was ongoing along the southern coast.

Early cherries were picked in Southern California and the SJV. The harvest of early-variety apricots, peaches, and nectarines continued. The blueberry and strawberry harvests were ongoing.

The olive bloom began in the SJV while the grape bloom ended. The bloom was not uniform. 

Thinning and irrigation continued in fruit orchards and vineyards, plus weed and pest control.

Nut crops

Cooler temperatures delayed development in almond orchards while pesticide and fungicide applications were made. Nut fill has been slow.

Blight control sprays were ongoing in walnuts. Pesticide sprays were made in pistachio orchards.

Vegetable crops

Kern County reported carrots and onions harvested. Tulare County reported squash and cucumbers picked and packed locally.

Fresno County reported early onions and early garlic near harvest; tomatoes and carrots looked good.

In Merced County, bell pepper, honeydew, cantaloupe, and tomato planting continued, as the asparagus harvest and sweet potato field fumigations were winding down.

Field work, pre-plant herbicide treatments, and ground preparation continued in Sutter County. 

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