California Crop Weather report from NASS

Here is the March 15 California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Sacramento, Calif.


At the beginning of the week, a high pressure ridge pushed the remains of a weak frontal system out of the state. Only scattered shower activity was occurring in the northern mountain ranges, and along the north coast.

The ridge continued to build over the state Tuesday, bringing dry and mild weather to most of the state through Friday. A low pressure trough began to deepen off the coast at the end of the week, spreading high clouds and gusty winds.

By the weekend, the low pressure system had moved ashore in the Pacific Northwest, and had pushed a cold front into Northern California. This front brought light amounts of precipitation to the northern half of the state, with the heaviest amounts concentrated along the north coast. The scattered precipitation continued through Sunday.

Field crops

Weed spraying in wheat, oat, and sorghum grain fields was still underway. Wheat was growing well in Kern County. Early planted fields of wheat and oats were starting to develop seed heads. Growers continued with field preparations for spring planting.

Alfalfa fields were dormant in Tulare County. Some fields were being grazed by sheep. Newly planted alfalfa fields were being irrigated and established fields were treated with herbicides to remove weeds. Winter silage continued to grow well.

Sod growers were preparing the ground for seeding. Field preparations continued for cotton, corn, and bean planting. Inventories of hay were being depleted. Sweet potato hotbeds continued to be planted. Potatoes continued to be harvested.

Fruit crops

Grape buds began to swell. Vineyard and orchard pruning and maintenance slowed down. Cherries, prunes, pears, and peaches began to bloom. Fungicide treatments were applied to protect blooms in moist conditions. Blight treatment was applied in peach orchards.

Growers assessed damage from cold temperatures in grapes, kiwifruit, and fruit trees. Spring strawberries bloomed and were forming berries. Minneola and W. Murcott mandarin harvest increased. The early harvest for Valencia oranges began.

Cold overnight temperatures caused some growers to run wind machines and other protective measures in orchards that still had citrus fruit.

Nut crops

Cool temperatures extended the almond bloom in parts of the Sacramento Valley. Petal fall was almost complete through much of the San Joaquin Valley. In some areas almond trees began to leaf out. Some scattered freeze damage was reported on almond nutlets in the San Joaquin Valley; no freeze damage was reported in the Sacramento Valley.

Male pistachio trees began to form pollen sacks. Pruning and weed control in walnuts was ongoing.

Vegetable crops

The harvests of radicchio, asparagus, cabbage, carrots, and greenhouse vegetables progressed well.

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