The following is the latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., Field Office:
High pressure over California at the start of the week quickly buckled and allowed several weak weather systems to pass through. The strongest storms moved from northern California down into southern California at midweek spreading light to moderate rains. Temperatures at the start of the week were generally below normal.
On Friday a high pressure area began to build over California resulting in warmer and dryer conditions across the state. Temperatures quickly rose above normal for most of the state with southern California reaching highs in the 80s by the weekend.
Continued rainfall was beneficial for dryland crops and also lessened the need for irrigation. The rainfall has made weed control more difficult. As field conditions allowed, weed control measures were undertaken in wheat, oat, and alfalfa fields. Fertilizer applications were ongoing as growers prepared for spring planting.
Maintenance work was sporadic in vineyards and orchards as rains have led to very high soil moisture. Trees and vines entered a deeper dormancy due to cool seasonal temperatures.
Stone fruit grafting took place in the San Joaquin Valley. Some blooming occurred in plum trees. Cherry trees are expected to begin blooming soon. The wetter than usual weather delayed blueberry pollination.
The picking of tangerines, Navel oranges, grapefruit, and lemons continued as orchard conditions allowed.
Blooming in almond orchards began with widespread blooming expected in the coming week. Bees and bloom spray use continued throughout almond orchards. Orchard work continued in other nut orchards, including herbicide applications for walnut trees.
Growers were planting vegetable crops in Monterey County despite cold weather and periodic rains making it difficult to prepare the fields. Asparagus sprouted in San Joaquin County. Muddy conditions continued to hinder produce harvest in Imperial County. In Tulare County, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage were picked. Fields were disked to break and aerate the soil for future vegetable planting.
In Fresno County the winter vegetable harvest including beets, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, daikon, green onions, herbs, bok choy, gai choy, yu choy, Swiss chard, and kale was coming to an end. Some growers planted winter rotational vegetable crops while others cultivated, pre-irrigated, and weeded fields in preparation for next season’s planting.
The fall-planted garlic and onion crops showed good growth. Carrot fields planted by seed started to emerge. Spring lettuce grew well and some older fields were weeded and thinned.
Melon and tomato growers applied pre-plant fumigation when soil conditions permitted. Some fields were bedded up for processing tomatoes. Previously planted onions for processing emerged in some fields.
The radicchio harvest continued in Merced County. Carrots, cabbage, lettuce, and other vegetables grew in Kern County. Fields were bedded up for tomatoes and melons.