The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Sacramento, Calif., released Jan. 17, 2012.
High pressure over California brought another dry week to the Golden State. A surface high pressure cell resting over the Great Basin pushed a dry and warm offshore flow across the state. This pattern remained in place through Saturday.
Temperatures across northern California were unseasonably mild while those in Southern California were very warm with daytime highs in the 80s.
Coupled with humidity readings in the single digits, this prompted red flag fire weather warnings for the southland while the north remained very dry but not quite so gusty.
A large-scale change in the weather pattern began took shape over the weekend. On Sunday, the high pressure ridge which had shielded California from the storm track finally wore down. A storm system passing through the Pacific Northwest pushed cooler air into northern California with scattered light precipitation along the far northern coast.
Winter wheat, oat, other small grain fields planted earlier were sprinkler irrigated and grew vigorously. Dry fields waited for rain. Growers cultivated seed beds and applied fertilizers and herbicides.
New alfalfa fields were seeded.
Fruit growers waited for rain across California. Very few pre-emergent and dormant sprays were observed due to the lack of moisture. Peach and prune orchards were irrigated, pruned, and planted.
Wine grape vineyards were dug and pruned.
The persimmon harvest was virtually complete.
Citrus packinghouses screened for frost damage in fruit but very little frost damage was reported. The Satsuma mandarin, Owari, and Clementine tangerine harvests continued. The Navel orange harvest picked up as internal fruit maturity improved. The Oro Blanco and Melogold grapefruit harvests were winding down. The pummelo harvest picked up.
Almond stockpiles were hulled. Pre-emergent spray, orchard removal, planting, and pruning continued in nut orchards. Nut growers also applied fertilizers and irrigation.
Carrots were harvested in Kern County. Fresno County reported broccoli and spinach harvests.
Stanislaus County reported broccoli harvest. In Sutter County, ground preparation and winter vegetable harvest continued.