The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office in Sacramento, Calif., released Feb. 28, 2012.
The low pressure system which brought light showers the previous weekend dropped south into Baja California on Monday, Feb. 20. A high pressure ridge developed over California on the heels of that system resulting in warmer and drier conditions for the Golden State for most of the week.
A surface pressure gradient developed from North to South, resulting in gusty offshore winds across much of the state. The strongest winds developed across Southern California. These gusty northerly winds brought fairly dry conditions to much of the state. This pattern persisted through Friday.
By Friday night, a cold front and its associated low pressure system moved across Northern California resulting in a few light showers across the North, especially along the coast, and cooler temperatures. The cooling trend continued Sunday but no precipitation fell in the state.
Dryland grains showed good growth and steady development in some parts of the state with more precipitation needed to sustain crop development. The lack of moisture in other areas could prove tragic for crop growth. Some replanting of wheat in poor fields was required. Other fields were destroyed so other crops may be planted pending forecasted rain.
Overall wheat progress was delayed. Some small grain fields were irrigated. Broadleaf weed control in hay, wheat, rye, and oat fields continued as wheat and other small grains were stunted with minimal amounts heading out. Ground preparation and fertilization continued.
Rice fields were drained as some fields were dry enough for tractor cultivation. Field corn planting had begun.
Alfalfa fields showed decent growth in areas benefiting from recent rains.
Field preparations for spring cotton planting continued with bed formation, pre-irrigation, and weed control.
Pruning of orchards wrapped up; herbicide spraying continued. The lack of water remained a concern for growers planning for the coming year.
Early plums and apricots bloomed. Early cherries began to bloom. The unseasonably warm weather caused some peaches and nectarines to start blooming. Bloom sprays were applied in stone fruit orchards.
Pruning of grape and kiwi vineyards was nearly finished. Kiwifruit, persimmons, and Asian pears were exported.
Navel oranges, Murcott tangerines, and Mineola tangelos were harvested and exported. Frost damage was limited. The export of pummelos, grapefruit, Cara Caras, and lemons was ongoing.
A few growers were still irrigating, planting, and pruning in walnut and pistachio orchards. Walnuts and pistachios were exported.
Almonds were nearing full bloom in all parts of the state. Fungicide applications commenced.
Kern County reported harvests of carrots and potatoes. The harvest of winter vegetables was almost complete in Fresno County.
In Stanislaus County, broccoli was harvested. Asparagus and spinach grew well.
Certified producers prepared growing grounds for upcoming spring vegetable crops in Tulare County.