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California Crop Weather: rains slow field work

California Crop Weather: rains slow field work

Weather systems bring California near or beyond normal year-to-date precipitation; Budding in peach and plum trees ongoing as blooming starts in early variety fruit trees; Placement of bee colonies in almond orchards for pollination continues across California; Wet conditions slow winter harvest of broccoli and lettuce in Fresno County.    

The latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Sacramento, Calif., as of Feb. 20.


A series of weather systems brought California near or beyond the normal year-to-date precipitation in the past week. The first system arrived Monday to the northern half of the state bringing light precipitation and slightly cooler temperatures. A brief break in the weather followed Tuesday as the weak system migrated further south.

A series of short wave troughs, rotating around a much deeper and colder low, impacted the state from Wednesday and Saturday bringing heavy precipitation and much colder temperatures to California. Afternoon convection developed in the wake of the cold front Thursday and brought numerous reports of small hail and locally intense precipitation to the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada.

A final, weaker storm moved across the state early in the weekend. Temperatures overall were well below normal for this time of the year.

Field crops

Rain slowed field work in some areas while bringing it to a standstill where more rainfall occurred.

Winter forage crops developed with good rainfall aiding in the establishment of crop stands.  Aerial herbicide applications began on small grain fields.

Rice fieldwork continued with the drainage of fields and incorporation of rice straw into the soil. 

Alfalfa field maintenance continued with established fields treated for weeds while others were irrigated. Preparation for spring planting continued as conditions allowed with plowing, disking, planting, and spraying in fields.

Fruit crops

The Navel orange, mandarin, and lemon harvests continued in the San Joaquin Valley. Lemons and grapefruit were picked in the desert region. Lemons were picked in the coastal regions. The Navel orange harvest quickened to limit fruit losses due to rind break down.

Budding in peach and plum trees was ongoing as blooming started in early-variety fruit trees.  Pruning, spraying, and planting in orchards and vineyards were conducted as conditions allowed.

Nut crops

Pruning, spraying, and tree removal in pistachio and walnut orchards continued as field conditions allowed. Placement of bee colonies in almond orchards for pollination continued across the state. As blooming began in almond orchards, farmers applied bloom sprays with the majority of sprays expected in the coming week.

Vegetable crops

Tulare County reported mustard greens, cabbage, and oriental cabbage grown for farmers markets.

In Fresno County, wet conditions slowed the winter harvest of broccoli and lettuce. Fresh market onions were planted. Tomato beds were sprayed for weeds.

Merced County reported the continued harvest of radicchio. 

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