The latest California agriculture update from the National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sacramento, Calif., Field Office:

Weather

A trough of low pressure located off the southern California coast provided cooler than normal weather across the state throughout the week. The system brought isolated showers and thunderstorms in the foothills and the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada and Northern Mountains.

By the middle of the week, diurnal heating combined with the unstable atmosphere created optimal conditions for stronger thunderstorms in the northern valley. The thunderstorms dropped a little over a half inch of rain in the Redding and Red Bluff area.

Southern California remained mostly dry during the week. Marine air along the central and southern coastal towns kept temperatures in the mid 60s to mid 70s throughout the week.

Onshore flow from the Delta region kept maximum valley temperatures in the mid 70s to low 80s. Foothill locations varied in the low to upper 70s. Gentle warming occurred over the weekend with similar weather over the state.

Field crops

Wheat harvest was nearing completion with above average yields. Wheat quality was good with normal protein. Cutting of winter forage and other small grains for hay and silage continued.

Rice growers were essentially finished with planting. Some fields were emerging. Aerial herbicide applications were underway.

Dry lima bean and corn planting continued. Oats continued to be cut and baled. The fourth cutting of alfalfa for hay was starting up. Sorghum and safflower were growing well.

Cotton squaring was progressing after irrigation. Sugarbeet harvest continued. Sweet potato transplanting and hot bed digging was winding down.

Fruit crops

Unusually mild weather with cool temperatures and scattered storms interrupted field preparations in some areas of California.

Blueberry and boysenberry harvests continued in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. Strawberry harvest began to slow for the season and was almost complete. Plum, peach, and nectarine harvests continued.

Fruit orchards were thinned and fertilized throughout the state. Pears and apples continued to develop. The commercial cherry harvest was almost complete. Grapes ripened well, though fungicide spraying to prevent mildew increased.

Late Navels and Valencia oranges were picked, and some larger-sized oranges had trouble with excessive dryness due to over-maturity.

Nut crops

Preparations for hull split spraying began. Mites and leaf scab remained a concern for almond growers with higher humidity increasing pest pressure. Irrigation continued for almond, pistachio, walnut, and pecan orchards in the San Joaquin Valley. Insecticide and herbicide spraying continued in walnut and pistachios.

Vegetable crops

Ground preparations for new vegetable crop plantings were underway while irrigation of existing vegetable crops continued. The harvest of crops for farmers markets was ongoing.

Treatments for thrips and aphids were applied to onions. Herbicides were sprayed onto sweet corn fields. Processing tomatoes were irrigated and fertilized. Preparations for garlic harvest were underway.

Lettuce harvest was in progress. Squash was harvested by Stanislaus County farmers. Cool weather was expected to delay melon harvest in Kern County. Melon and sweet corn harvest was anticipated to begin in a few weeks in Tulare County.