California Crop Weather, May 18

The following is the May 18 California Crop Weather Report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).


California lay beneath a flat ridge of high pressure at the start of the week beginning May 11. The weak high pressure system allowed a couple of minor frontal systems to brush the extreme northern portions of the state, bringing a few showers to the North Coast and to the northern mountains.

The remainder of the state was dry and warm. The high pressure ridge began to strengthen by the end of the week, resulting in very warm and dry conditions across California through the weekend. Isolated mountain thunderstorms occurred; otherwise, dry conditions prevailed by the end of the week.

Field crops

Rice preparation and planting were in full swing. Herbicide treatments were applied. Barley was maturing nicely. Alfalfa was being cut. Corn continued to be planted and weed spraying was underway. Early planted corn fields continued to emerge.

The cotton crop was still looking good. There were no major mite or thrip insect problems reported. With the recent hot temperatures, the mite population was expected to increase if the heat persisted. Oats continued to be cut and baled. Wheat was past the dough stage and ripening rapidly, with harvest underway.

Winter forage and other small grains were cut for silage. Fresno County received an extra water allocation which should help crops. Lima and freezer bean planting preparations continued. Safflower was planted and growing well. Water availability remained a concern. The sugar beet harvest was underway.

Fruit crops

Strawberry harvest was in full swing. Storms from the previous week damaged Brooks and Burlat cherries in the Sacramento Valley. Kiwis bloomed while Asian and Bartlett developed in the Sacramento Valley.

Pruning, fertilization, plus insect and weed control were present in orchards throughout the state. Early harvest of Snow Blaze nectarines, April Snow, Snow Angel and Super Lady peaches, Poppy, Golden Sweet and Tasty Rich apricots, and cherries continued in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Early season blueberry harvest began in the high desert.

Grape vineyards were treated with fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides. Vines throughout the state continued to be thinned for maximum airflow and sunlight penetration.

Late varieties of Navel oranges were harvested, and Valencia oranges entered peak harvest season. Gold Nugget mandarins, W. Murcott tangerines, and Minneola tangelo harvests were completed. Grapefruit and lemons entered peak marketing seasons.

Olives, figs, and pomegranates continued fruit set development in the SJV. Summer avocados bloomed while springtime varieties were mid-way through harvest.

Nut crops

Most almond, pistachio, and walnut trees were in the initial phases of nut hardening. Insect monitoring and treatment continued in all orchard varieties. A 5 percent increase in surface water irrigation allotment was expected to help tree crops in the SJV, and many orchards throughout the Central Valley planned to rely on well water for the much of the rest of the season.

Vegetable crops

Onions and garlic in Fresno County were nearly ready for harvest. Garlic and purple onions in Tulare County continued to be harvested and planted along with tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucumbers. Early-planted melons were beginning to emerge, while cauliflower and broccoli were starting to form.

Growers prepared for future plantings of summer vegetables. Maintenance and ground preparation continued in Sutter County, and the harvest of vegetable crops for farmers’ markets continued. Onions were treated for aphids and thrips, and planting continued for processing tomatoes.

Imperial County’s harvests of cantaloupe and sweet corn were in full swing, with sweet corn yields and quality looking good. The onion harvest was ongoing with good quality, and the carrot harvest was progressing.

Carrots were also being harvested in Kern County along with some asparagus. The asparagus harvest in Merced was completed, and the spring harvest of radicchio continued. Both fresh market and processing tomato fields were still being planted.

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