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California Crop Weather report

The latest California crop weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., field office:


Moisture from the remnants of typhoon Melor caught up in the jet stream, and moved moisture from near Japan across the Pacific Ocean and to the California region.

This scenario produced a strong storm with a significant amount of precipitation and strong winds for most of California. The air mass embedded within the system was rather warm, and therefore snow levels were fairly high.

By Wednesday afternoon, rainfall records were noted across central and northern California. Right after the event, total rainfall amounts varied from 2-6 inches in the valley, and 4-8 inches in the foothills and higher elevations.

Along the coast, rainfall totals were estimated at 3-8 inches. During the event, minor flooding due to heavy rainfall was documented on highways, small streams, and creeks.

Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to around 55 miles per hour were recorded in portions of the Sacramento and Central Valley and along the coast. Gusts over 65 mph were recorded in the higher elevations. Property damage and downed trees and branches were documented during the event.

The week ended with cool daytime temperatures and cloudy skies with a few showers remaining in the Sierra Nevada. On a positive note, this event was a good start to the rainy season.

Field crops

Rainfall interrupted harvest and field preparation in many areas. The wind and rain caused lodging in some rice fields. Rice straw burning and other rice field activities were delayed.

Some dry bean and sunflower fields have yet to be harvested. Rain fell on some stacked alfalfa.

Corn plants were pushed over by the wind and rain, but were still harvestable. Corn harvest was completed in Madera and Tulare Counties. The rain was helpful for winter grains which had been planted and were emerging.

Cotton was at various stages of maturity, including bolls opening, plants defoliated, and early planted fields harvested. Milo field conditions ranged from green and irrigated to completed harvests in Kern County.

Fruit crops

The grape harvests in the Central Valley and North Coast were significantly slowed due to the recent storm. Portions of several vineyards were covered with plastic to limit damage, but concerns about mildew and mold were high overall. Expected warm weather should aid in returning harvest activities to a normal pace soon.

The kiwi and apple harvests continued primarily in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Light picking of peach, plum, and nectarine trees also continued as the harvests wound down. Most raisin grape trays were collected before the storm. Wonderful pomegranates continued to be picked.

The fall SJV strawberry season began while the Satsuma mandarin harvest continued. The SJV Valencia orange harvest continued to near completion, and Navel oranges continued to develop in size. The lemon harvest continued in the desert region.

In orchards hit by the storm, some non-staked trees suffered from leaning and there was significant debris on orchard floors. Normal spraying and maintenance continued in orchards and vineyards, including fall pruning of orchards.

Nut crops

The walnut harvest was slowed by the storm in the Sacramento Valley. However, the almond and walnut harvests continued to near completion in the Central Valley as hulling and stockpile fumigations continued.

The pistachio harvest also continued in full swing in the Central Valley. The storm caused some uprooting of almond trees, leaning for young nut trees, broken limbs, and limited broken nut trees.

Vegetable crops

The melon season came to an end in Stanislaus County. Fresh market tomatoes were still harvested, but recent rains carried concerns for mold and mildew on the crop.

Fresno County’s processing tomato harvest was almost complete. Irrigation tape was removed from tomato fields and farmers were planting broccoli and onions for seed. Grounds were prepared for winter lettuce, and carrots were irrigated, fertilized, and treated with fungicide.

Tulare County’s harvests of sweet corn, squash, peppers, melons, and tomatoes slowed down.

In Kern County, all processing tomatoes were harvested and the fields were plowed and disked. Carrots and asparagus were still in harvest. Merced County producers continued to harvest basil, fresh market and processing tomatoes, bell peppers, and honeydew. Cantaloupe, watermelon, and radicchio planting were winding down.

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