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California Crop Weather: farmers reap bountiful harvests

California Crop Weather: farmers reap bountiful harvests

California fall crop harvest update: almond harvest nears the end; walnut and pistachio harvests in full swing; rain slows the table grape harvest; SJV raisin grape harvest underway; and the wine grape harvest continues plus fungicide sprays to avoid bunch rot following early October rains. 

The latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Sacramento, Calif., released Oct. 17, 2011.


A short wave trough of low pressure brushed Northern California beginning Oct. 10 bringing light to moderate rain showers and cool temperatures to the north half of California Monday and Tuesday. Southern California remained dry and relatively warm. 

By Wednesday, upper level high pressure began to build over the state. This, combined with a strong offshore flow resulted in unseasonably hot weather for Southern California with high temperatures reaching over the 100 degree mark in some inland valley locations and across the deserts. The offshore flow in the Southland continued through Thursday. 

By Friday, the high pressure ridge weakened and shifted eastward bringing a cooling trend to the entire state and a few light showers to Northern California. Southern California remained dry.

Field crops

Nearly a third of the rice crop was harvested. By the end of the week, more than 90 percent of cotton bolls were opened. Cotton defoliation was in various stages. Harvest continued as fields dried out after recent rains.  Cotton and rice crop conditions maintained a mostly good to excellent rating.

Black-eye beans were harvested and laid out to dry. Cutting of corn for grain and sorghum for silage continued. Some alfalfa producers were cutting the sixth to seventh crop. Fall ground preparation and planting of wheat and alfalfa continued where field conditions allowed.

Fruit crops

The peach, nectarine, and plum harvests were nearly complete. Pruning and late season fertilizer applications were ongoing in orchards.

The table grape harvest continued in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) with Red Globe, Autumn Royal, Crimson Seedless, Scarlet Royals, and Autumn King were the main varieties harvested. Rainfall slowed the harvest.

The raisin grape harvest, including Thompson Seedless, progressed in the SJV.

The wine grape harvest continued. Additional sprays of fungicides were required to avoid bunch rot after the early October rains.

Pineapple quinces, figs, kiwifruit, and apples were harvested as the pear harvest wrapped up. Pomegranates began reaching maturity with harvest starting in a few orchards. The olive harvest continued.

Citrus grove maintenance continued with irrigation and treatment of citrus pests. Lemons and Star Ruby grapefruit were picked. Navel orange maturity was behind delaying the harvest. Valencia oranges were exported from Tulare County.   

Nut crops

The almond harvest began to slow. Growers reported above normal volumes due to a heavy crop set. The harvests of walnuts and pistachios were in full swing. 

Vegetable crops

Lettuce, chard, spinach, and carrots were harvested in Kern County. In Tulare County, commercial tomato and pepper harvests continued while the cantaloupe and watermelon harvests were winding down.

Fresno County reported onion, cantaloupe, and garlic harvests winding down. In Merced County, the cantaloupe, tomato, bell pepper, and watermelon harvests continued. The honeydew harvest was complete.

In San Joaquin County, processing and fresh market tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins were harvested. Sutter County reported the processing tomato harvest was coming to an end. In Siskiyou County, the dehydrator onion harvest continued. 

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