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California rice
<p>California rice.</p>

California Crop Weather: rice planting underway

Rice planting starts&nbsp;in California with significant planting expected in the coming weeks; Light tillage used in some cotton fields to break through&nbsp;soil crust caused by&nbsp;rainfall; Cool temperatures slowed shoot development in Central Coast grape vineyards; Pollination underway in California walnut and pistachio orchards.

The latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Field Office in Sacramento, Calif., released April 25.


Weather for the week of April 18 was mostly cool and cloudy in California. A long wave trough parked along the West Coast sent multiple weak short wave systems across California.

Monday’s system was moderately warm bringing rain showers as far south as the northern San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Snow levels were at 7,000 feet. Valley locations collected less than a quarter inch of rain. Foothill-mountain locations collected up to 1.25 inches of rain.

Tuesday was a dry transition day between the systems. From Wednesday into Thursday, a much weaker system took showers as far south as between Santa Margarita and Yosemite.

The short waves on Saturday and Sunday kept precipitation confined to the higher elevations of northern California. Light rainfall amounts were less than 0.25 inches in the Sierra Foothills with snow above 6,000 feet.

Southern California was dry for the week. Temperatures were slightly below normal for the entire week.

Field crops

The first cutting of alfalfa continued in the SJV. Irrigated winter wheat fields received the last watering before harvest. Winter wheat, oats, and other small grain crops headed out.

Rice planting started with significant planting expected in coming weeks while field preparation activities continued.

Some cotton fields had crusted from the recent rainfall leading growers to use light tillage to break through the crust.

Field corn, sunflowers, and potatoes were planted. Spring field work continued with weed control in small grain and alfalfa fields, pre-plant herbicide applications, and spring tillage to prepare the seedbeds.

Fruit crops

The Navel orange, Valencia orange, and lemon harvests continued normally in the SJV as the grapefruit and mandarin harvests neared completion. Grapefruit and lemons were picked in the desert and coastal regions.

Cool temperatures slowed shoot development in Central Coast grape vineyards while fungicides and fertilizers were applied in Central Valley vineyards.  The strawberry harvest began in Merced County.

Fieldwork and spraying were ongoing in orchards and vineyards.

Nut crops

Growing conditions in almond orchards were good as the recent cool wet weather limited pest activity.  Pollination was underway in walnut and pistachio orchards as catkins developed on walnut trees. Blight control sprays for walnuts were ongoing while bloom sprays for pistachio orchards were prepared.

Vegetable crops

Kern County reported carrot and lettuce harvests. Processing tomato and bell pepper planting continued as cantaloupe and honeydew planting began in Merced County.

The asparagus harvest continued in San Joaquin and Merced counties. Sutter County reported continued vegetable planting and ground cultivation. 

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