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California Crop Weather: rains benefit, slow crop production

California Crop Weather: rains benefit, slow crop production

Rains benefit, delay progress of California farm crops. SJV Navel orange, mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit harvests slowed due to wet conditions. Winter wheat, oat, barley, and other winter forage crops emerge with good soil moisture. 2010 California fall grape harvest completed. 

The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Sacramento, Calif., for the week ending Dec. 26.


The start of the week (Dec. 20) found California under the influence of a broad low pressure system off the coast. A series of strong storms brought precipitation to all of the Golden State, but the heaviest rains were concentrated in Southern California, already saturated from last week’s torrential rains.

The heavy rainfall resulted in more flooding and landslides across the Southland. By comparison, Northern California enjoyed relatively moderate precipitation amounts, with heavy snowfall across the Sierra Nevada and the Siskiyou and Southern Cascade ranges.

By midweek, the low pressure system began to yield to an increasingly strong high pressure ridge developing off the Southern California coast. This brought dry and seasonably mild conditions to California by late Thursday, bringing Southern California a much needed respite from the rains.

Dry and mild conditions were the rule across California on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, a new storm system reached Northern California and spread rains across the North late in the day and on Saturday. Southern California enjoyed a dry Christmas with light rains by Sunday.

Field crops

The cotton plowdown was nearly complete. Winter wheat, oats, barley, and other winter forage crops emerged nicely due to good soil moisture levels. Recent wet weather slowed ground preparation for further planting in some areas.

Oat silage fields were harvested and new alfalfa planting was complete in Merced County. Weed control in alfalfa fields continued. Operators proceeded with field operations as conditions allowed.

Fruit crops

Pruning and other maintenance continued in orchards and vineyards as conditions allowed due to ongoing wet weather conditions. The fall grape harvest was finished across California.

The Navel orange, mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit harvests continued in the San Joaquin Valley at a slower pace due to wet conditions. Lemons and grapefruit were picked in the desert region. Kiwifruit plus fruit and nut nursery plants were harvested in Sutter County.

Nut crops

Almond pruning and some orchard removal was ongoing in the Central Valley. Orchard maintenance took place as field conditions allowed.

Vegetable crops

Winter vegetables were planted and advanced despite weather conditions in Fresno and

Tulare counties. The radicchio harvest continued in Merced County. Recent rains delayed the harvest of potatoes and carrots in Kern County.

Late plantings of winter crops continued as weather and ground conditions allowed in San Joaquin County. Ground preparation and weed control was in progress as weather permitted. Onions and carrots were planted in Sutter County. 

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