Barley, oat, wheat, and winter forage harvests continued across the State. Winter wheat was fully headed in most areas. The first cutting of alfalfa was winding down and the second cutting was underway. Early corn and cotton planting and emergence continued. Rice field preparation and planting continued. Mustard seed was still in full bloom. Sugar beet harvest began. Safflower fields were in various stages of growth. Farmers remained concerned over water supplies.
Grapes were leafing out in the warmer weather. Vineyards and orchards were irrigated due to dry conditions. In some areas grape growers were assessing frost damage that occurred because of unseasonably cold temperatures earlier in the week. Growers used water and wind machines to help curtail damage, but these tactics were not enough in some locations. Damage reports were also received for apples, cherries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums and prunes. Losses in the northern areas of the State were most significant. Pears appeared to be hit the hardest. Damage to leaf canopies was widespread in some areas. Elsewhere, stone fruits were sizing normally, though a lighter fruit set has been observed in some locations. Some stone fruit orchards were being thinned. Color break on cherries was noted in Tulare County with harvest expected soon. Spring strawberry harvest moved forward. Boysenberries and blueberries were blooming. In isolated areas citrus growers also took measures to avoid frost damage to their groves. Harvests of tangelos, grapefruit, mandarins, lemons and Navel and Valencia oranges nonetheless continued. Olive buds were forming and bloom had already begun in Tulare County.
Walnuts in some areas were damaged due to below freezing temperatures that occurred at the beginning of the week. The full extent of damage was not yet known. Blight treatments took place on walnuts. Pistachio pollination was underway.
Imperial Valley melons continued to set and early fields were about two weeks away from harvest. First of the market onions harvest began this past week and sweet corn harvest actively continued. In Fresno County, transplanting of bell peppers, tomatoes for fresh and processing markets, and melons continued. Most sweet corn plantings emerged. Tomatoes were showing good growth with caps removed. Peas, peppers, cucumbers and onions were also reported to be in good condition. Early squash had started to bloom. Farmer’s market crops such as amaranth, basil, bok choy, beets, leeks, kale, greens, and radishes were being harvested. Cold morning temperatures earlier in the week produced some light damage on early planted vegetables like tomatoes, squash and peppers. In Kern County, lettuce harvest was close to being started. Carrots were irrigated, cultivated, treated with herbicides, and harvested. Peppers, watermelons, and tomatoes were growing well. In the Central Valley, spinach for the processing market was being harvested. Radicchio packing continued as did asparagus harvesting.