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California Crop Weather: planting continues despite rain

Spring field crop planting advanced in California despite scattered rain showers; Cotton planting continued - emergence and leaf development took place in planted fields; Grapes were in bloom across the state with thinning in fruit orchards and vineyards; Normal nut drop continued in almond orchards while cooler temperatures slowed development. 

The latest California Crop Weather report from the Sacramento, Calif., Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, released May 23.


Unseasonably cool and wet weather persisted over California last week (week of May 16) as a pair of record breaking systems pummeled the state. Between Monday and Wednesday, the northern mountains and coast experienced one to two inches of rain; parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains had two to three inches, and even the Southern California ranges near Los Angeles and San Diego saw up to an inch of rain at the highest peaks.

A weak ridge developed in the wake of the systems mid to late week, but temperatures struggled to return to seasonal levels due to the presence of high clouds.

A weak upper trough brushed the California Oregon border during the weekend that stirred up the atmosphere enough to generate weak thunderstorms over the Sacramento Valley and the Sierra Nevada on Sunday.

Field crops

Spring planting advanced throughout California despite scattered rain showers. Rice field preparation and planting continued in the Sacramento Valley.

The second cutting of alfalfa was at various stages of being cut and baled. Sunflower seed crop planting continued.

Winter wheat and oat fields were harvested and cut hay was left to dry in the fields. Barley and wheat headed out across the Central Valley.

Cotton planting continued while emergence and leaf development took place in planted fields.

Corn, sorghum, and dry bean planting were ongoing. Irrigation was started in areas lacking rainfall.

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

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 began. The blueberry and strawberry harvests were ongoing.

Grapes were in bloom across the state. Thinning continued in fruit orchards and vineyards, as well as weed and pest control.

Nut crops

Normal nut drop continued in almond orchards while cooler temperatures slowed development. Pest activity was limited overall though some pesticides were applied. Walnut orchards in Lake County bloomed as blight spraying was ongoing.

Vegetable crops

Tulare County reported summer vegetables developing well despite temperature swings. Onion fields were doing well. Squash and cucumber harvests were anticipated in two weeks.

Fresno County reported fresh tomatoes were irrigated and cultivated. Weeding of lettuce seed was ongoing while fungicides were applied onion fields.

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

San Joaquin County reported processing and fresh market tomatoes were transplanted, melons and carrots were planted, potato planting had finished, and onions were weeded.

Field work and aphid control in the carrot crop continued in Sutter County. The planting of tomato transplants was winding down.

In Siskiyou County, onion planting was complete while potato planting was expected to end in about two weeks. 

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