Warmer weather aids crop growth

Herbicide spraying for weed control in wheat and oat fields is reported to be ongoing in all regions of California. Forage crops such as wheat, barley, and oats were growing well due to cool and sunny conditions, notes the USDA-NASS, California Field Office.

Field work continued in preparation for spring planting, and dryland grain planting continued in Tulare County. Stanislaus County reports newly planted alfalfa crops were beginning to emerge and alfalfa fields are being sprayed with dormancy sprays due to the warmer weather.

In Merced County, sugar beets continue to be treated for voles. Sweet potato hotbed field fumigations continue to wind down while sweet potato hotbed preparations and some seeding continues.

Fruit report

Buds continued to swell in many orchards, and the warm weather has caused some early varieties of tree fruit to begin pushing buds.

Dormant solutions and herbicides continue to be applied in stone fruit orchards. Replanting of fruit trees has begun.

Pre-emergent herbicide applications in vine and tree acreage continues at a rapid pace. Pruning continues in vineyards, and canes were being tied in Thompson Seedless varieties.

The harvesting of Navel oranges, tangelos, pommelos, lemons, mandarins, and tangerines is ongoing. Problems with puff and crease in Navels have increased grade-out at packing houses. Grapefruit and grapefruit hybrid harvest continues.

Applications of copper, lime, and zinc continues in order to control fungal disease as well as to comply with export requirements. Packers were concerned about the shortage of pickers. Olive orchards continued to be pruned with brush being shredded.

Nut report

Bee hives continued to be placed in almond orchards. Almond trees are in the popcorn stage with a few trees already showing blooms. Replanting of nut trees has begun. Pruning and dormant sprays continued in nut orchards as field conditions permitted

Vegetable report

Warming temperatures have promoted vigorous growth in broccoli, lettuce, cabbage and spinach fields in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

Conditions improved for field activities, permitting resumption of spring planting preparations. As conditions permitted some fields were fumigated and sprayed for pre-planting weed control. Lettuce and onion fields were weeded, thinned and sprayed for aphids and mildew in western Fresno County. Onions for processing were planted.

Tomato transplants were also planted in a few fields.

Some late winter vegetables continue to be harvested. Broccoli, lettuce, greenhouse vegetables, mustard greens, and radicchio were being harvested.

Cool season Asian vegetables including bok choy, gai choy, yu choy, gailon, daikon, napa cabbage and sugar pea leaf were also reported harvested.

Winter foothill pastures were in good condition and improving. Supplemental feeding of cattle continued but was limited to a few areas.

Livestock report

Branding of fall calves continues. Lambing season was essentially complete across the state. Sheep were grazed on retired cropland and old alfalfa fields. Beehives were being moved into almond and stone fruit orchards in preparation for the upcoming almond pollination.

Conditions at many dairies were improving as pens were beginning to dry.

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