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California Crop Weather: rain, almond bloom, citrus harvest

California Crop Weather: rain, almond bloom, citrus harvest

First full week of March brought a cold front with heavy rains across northern California, but lighter showers into southern California; Winter crop growth continues - wheat, barley, oat, and forage mixes develop; The Navel orange, Valencia orange, grapefruit, mandarin, and lemon harvests continue in the San Joaquin Valley; Spring lettuce fields grow after weeding and thinning - good conditions for all winter vegetables reported.   

The latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Field Office in Sacramento, Calif. released March 14.


At the start of the week a cold front sped through California with heavy rains across northern California, but lighter showers into southern California. The showers persisted across the north on Tuesday and brought moderate amounts of snowfall to the northern state mountains.

Some coastal locations reported heavy rains, but the south dried out. Gusty winds developed across southern California for the first day of the week. A high pressure ridge then settled over the West Coast. This resulted in a drying and warming trend across the state.

By midweek, temperatures in the southern California inland valleys reached the 80s with an occasional 90-degree reading at some of the warmest locations. Northern California temperatures were mild with daytime highs reaching the 60s.

Another series of storm systems approached California from the Pacific Ocean, the first one

skirting California Friday evening. A stronger system reached the state late Saturday night and Sunday morning, followed by a stronger storm reaching northern California Sunday evening. These Pacific storms brought moderate amounts of rains to California, especially to the northern half of the state.

Field crops

Winter crop growth continued. Wheat, barley, oat, and forage mixes developed. Little irrigation has taken place due to adequate rainfall. Dryland crops progressed well with sufficient soil moisture levels. Aerial herbicide applications continued on small grain fields as weather permitted.

Alfalfa fields continued to break dormancy with some fields receiving irrigation.

Rice growers worked on drainage ditches to remove excess water from recent rainfall.

Cotton, corn, and bean field preparation continued as field conditions allowed. Spring field work included plowing, disking, planting, and spraying.

Fruit crops

The Navel orange, Valencia orange, grapefruit, mandarin, and lemon harvests continued in the San Joaquin Valley. Lemons and grapefruit were picked in the desert region with lemons also picked in the coastal regions. Citrus plants were shipped across the state from Tulare County nurseries.

Bloom was ongoing in stone fruit trees as cherry trees were blooming as well. Strawberry plants showed good development. Fertilizers and herbicides were applied in orchards across the state.

Nut crops

The almond bloom continued as Nonpareil trees were past peak bloom while Butte-Padres were in full bloom. Sprays were applied in blooming almond orchards along with pruning. Spraying and fieldwork in pistachio and walnut orchards continued. Planting of new nut trees was ongoing.

Vegetable crops

Carrots were planted and harvested. Lettuce was growing in Kern County. Tulare County reported greenhouse vegetable germination. In Fresno County, growers cleaned fields in preparation for planting by pre-irrigation, cultivating beds, and controlling weeds. The broccoli harvest continued.

Winter rotational vegetables were planted while beets, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, daikon, green onions, herbs, the choys, chards and kales were harvested. Garlic and onions grew well and were treated with herbicides. Asparagus grew tremendously and with harvest underway.

Sweet corn and processing tomato growers began seeding new fields. Spring lettuce fields grew after being weeded and thinned. Good conditions for all winter vegetables were reported, with continued irrigation and fertilizers applied.

Merced County reported the planting of tomatoes. 

TAGS: Tree Nuts
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