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California Crop Weather: farmers protect orchards from cold temps

California Crop Weather: farmers protect orchards from cold temps

Citrus growers protected groves from freezing night-time temperatures; Winter wheat emergence progressed - more than three-quarters of the crop was above ground; In tree nuts, the walnut harvest was complete, almond stockpiles were hulled, and the pistachio harvest was wrapping up. 

The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., Field Office released Dec. 12, 2011.


The week of Dec. 5 began with a strong but dry low pressure system centered in Arizona which brushed Southern California. This produced dry and gusty conditions which brought increased concerns about wild fire hazards to the Southland.

Northern California was under a stable cool air mass which produced widespread freezing conditions across much of the Central Valley. Freeze warnings were issued as sub-freezing temperatures persisted for several hours on several mornings in the region.

As the Arizona low pressure system moved out of the area, Southern California saw a decrease in offshore winds. There was very little change in Northern California as the high pressure cap over the region kept storm systems out of the area.

The pattern of early morning frosts and freezes followed by sunny but cool afternoons persisted through the weekend. No significant precipitation was reported during the week.

Field crops

Producers chopped and disked crop residue in preparation for spring planting. The winter wheat crop was virtually planted. Winter wheat emergence progressed and more than three quarters of the crop was above ground. The earliest planted acres started to head.

Producers applied herbicides for broadleaf weed control. The crop condition was rated mostly good to excellent.

Fruit crops

Pre-emergence weed spraying continued in harvested orchards and vineyards. Soil fumigation for new and replacement plantings continued. The Asian pear and Fuyu and Hachiya persimmon harvests were coming to an end. The kiwi harvest was over.

Pineapple quinces, figs, and apples were harvested. The pomegranate harvest continued. The olive harvest was complete in the southern San Joaquin Valley (SJV).

The SJV table grape harvest continued to wind down with a few varieties still harvested. The wine grape harvest was complete; grapevines were dormant and pruning began.

Citrus growers protected groves from freezing night time temperatures. The Satsuma mandarin harvest continued. The Okitsu Wase tangerine harvest was finishing in Tulare County as the Owari and Clementine tangerine harvests picked up. The Navel orange harvest continued slowly. Delayed Navel maturity was still an issue for growers. External maturity increased significantly while internal maturity increased at a slower pace. 

Nut crops

The walnut harvest was completed. Groves were irrigated.

Almond stockpiles were hulled.

The pistachio harvest was wrapping up. Post-harvest cleanup and pruning began.

Vegetable crops

Carrots were harvested in Kern County. Tulare County reported continued planting of winter vegetables while the tomato and pepper harvests were finished.

Fresno County reported irrigation and fertilization of winter vegetables. Dehydrator onions were planted. Winter carrots were harvested.

In Sutter County, onion and garbanzo crops grew well while field cultivation and preparation were ongoing. 

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