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

Weather

Most of California stayed relatively cool during the last week of spring, and just before summer arrived on June 20. The valley and foothill locations were about 10 degrees below normal for mid June.

The State of California had several weak troughs pass over the region, keeping valley daytime highs below normal. The weak troughs aided isolated thunderstorm activity in the mountains, and an isolated thunderstorm occurring in the northern Sacramento Valley on Saturday.

The coastal and desert regions were near normal. Highs during the week in the valley were in the 80s, coastal region were in the 60s, deserts were from 100 to 111 degrees, mountains in the 70s, and the southern portion of the state (Los Angeles area) were in the 70s. The valley had a mild warming trend on Thursday and Friday, but cooled down again on Saturday.

Field crops

Wheat harvest continued and was nearing completion in some areas. Cutting of winter forage and other small grains for hay and silage continued.

Rice farmers were essentially finished with planting; some fields were emerging. Aerial herbicide applications continued.

Dry lima bean and corn planting continued. Oats continued to be cut and baled.

Dryland grain and oat hayfields continued to be sheeped off. The fourth cutting of alfalfa for hay continued. Alfalfa seed fields were setting. Sunflower and safflower were blooming.

Cotton squaring was progressing after final irrigations, though a bit behind due to recent cool weather. Spraying for lygus continued. Sweet potato transplanting and hot bed digging was completed.

Fruit crops

Apricot, nectarine, and Freestone peach orchard maintenance continued with irrigation, fertilization, and herbicide applications in the Sacramento Valley.

Grapes were sprayed with sulfur to control mildew in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Grapevines along the North Coast were thinned to optimize airflow. Strawberry and blueberry harvests were almost complete in the Central Valley. Blackberry and boysenberry harvests continued.

Valencia orange harvest was in full swing. Some Valencia lots showed signs of re-greening, so gassing was necessary to enhance color. Navel orange harvest was almost complete. Star Ruby grapefruit was harvested, as were lemons. Irrigation continued in SJV citrus groves.

Nut crops

Cooler temperatures in the SJV slowed pest development in almond orchards as growers prepared for hull split. Unusually mild conditions reduced evapotranspiration rates in nut orchards. Irrigation continued in SJV almond, pistachio, walnut, and pecan orchards.

Vegetable crops

Bell pepper harvest was underway in Kern County; harvest will begin soon for the tomato crop. Growers of both crops for processing have increased acreage this year. Carrots continued to be harvested.

In Sutter County, maintenance activities, irrigation, and ground preparation took place; the harvest of vegetables for farmers’ markets progressed. Weed treatments were applied to sweet corn.

The harvest of Imperial County’s early cantaloupe fields was finished; most sweet corn picking was nearing completion. Watermelon fields were watered back in hopes of producing melons for the July 4th market.

Spring lettuce was harvested in Fresno County. Garlic was dried in fields, and processing tomatoes were in the middle steps of growth. Merced County’s fresh market tomato harvest began, and fresh market and processing tomato fields continued to be planted.

The harvest of peppers and tomatoes began in Tulare County, and various varieties of squash continued to be harvested. Melon and sweet corn growth was underway with harvest expected in the near future, but local stands already have some sweet corn, tomatoes, and squash.