California Crop Weather NASS update

Here is the April 6 California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento field office.

• Weather

On Monday (March 30) high pressure in the wake of a fast moving cold front had developed over California. This resulted in a dry and mild weather regime for the first two days of the week.

In Southern California, strong offshore flow developed and brought very dry conditions to that region. A cold front moved across the Northern California coast on Wednesday. This system brought some light showers to the coast and to the far northern mountains.

By Thursday a few showers had spread to the Northern Sierra Nevada. There were some isolated light rain showers in southern California as well. An increased onshore flow resulted in a deep marine layer, which brought clouds and abundant moisture to that part of the state.

As the cold front moved into the Great Basin, a surface high pressure center settled over that region which led to strong northerly winds across most all of California on Friday. Gusty offshore flow continued across Southern California on Saturday, but the winds were beginning to diminish in Northern California as a high pressure ridge moved over the area.

On Sunday, most of the state enjoyed dry and mild weather as the state lay between the high pressure to the east, and a low pressure area off the coast to the west.

• Field crops

Weed spraying in wheat, oat, and sorghum grain fields continued. Wheat crops were ahead of the fertilizing schedule in Imperial County. Rice fields were being tilled for planting. Alfalfa fields were being chopped and bailed for feed.

Corn fields continued to be planted. Safflower continued to emerge. Cotton planting was still underway. Potatoes continued to be harvested. Sweet potato hot bed planting was complete. Irrigation for field crops will be needed if no rainfall is in the forecast.

• Fruit crops

High winds throughout much of the Sacramento Valley hampered orchard spraying and bee pollination. Grape bud-break was doing well with shoot growth accelerating. In the southern Central Valley, grapes were beginning to leaf out. Pomegranates, pears, prunes, apricots, cherries, and apples were blooming. Nectarine and peach bloom was complete in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Stone-fruit growers were also treating vineyards for weeds and insects. Spring strawberries and blueberries were blooming. New blueberry bush plantings continued.

The harvests of oranges, lemons, mandarins, minneolas, and pummelos were ongoing. Valencia harvest was picking up speed.

Olive trees were being trimmed.

• Nut crops

Walnut blight treatment continued in the SJV. Mites were present on almonds throughout the state. Control measures were being employed and little damage due to mites was reported.

Freeze damage in almond orchards was confirmed. Pistachio trees began to leaf out. High winds and cooler temperatures caused growers to irrigate for frost protection.

• Vegetable crops

The asparagus harvest continued along the Central Coast and in the lower SJV. Leaf lettuce and broccoli harvest was still underway. Fresh market and processing tomatoes were planted in Merced County.

Stanislaus County growers harvested broccoli and spinach and also transplanted tomatoes. Carrots, onions, and garlic were being harvested, cultivated, irrigated, and treated with herbicide. Melons were still being planted.

Snow peas in Tulare County were picked and outdoor plantings of zucchini, squash, and cucumber continued.

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