The latest California agriculture update from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., field office:
The start of the week saw a low pressure system pass to the north of California. This produced an onshore flow across Northern California, with cooler temperatures across the north.
High pressure over Southern California kept temperatures warm. As the week progressed, the high pressure over the South grew stronger and brought hotter temperatures to the entire state. The hottest day of the week for most of California was Thursday with triple digit temperatures common statewide.
Late on Thursday, the remnants of tropical storm Ignacio spread cloud cover and cooled temperatures a bit. Isolated mountain showers also resulted from this system. High pressure rebuilt by Saturday for another warm day across the state, with very dry weather creating critical fire weather conditions, especially for Southern California.
By Sunday, a low pressure system approaching the Pacific Northwest brought a cooler onshore flow to Northern California. However, strong pressure over the South resulted in continued hot and dry conditions in Southern California.
Some cotton fields received whitefly and aphid treatments as more bolls opened. Most cotton fields have received the last watering. The warm weather has aided in the development of cotton plants.
Alfalfa continued to be cut and baled. The low price of hay has caused some farmers to dry down portions of the crop. The hot weather and lack of humidity has caused some spontaneous haystack fires.
Rice fields were being drained in Colusa. Sunflower harvest moved forward. Corn for silage continued to be harvested, as well as corn for grain. Growers started to harvest black-eyed pea fields. Onion and carrot seed harvest was completed in the Sacramento Valley. Cucumbers and squash were being harvested for seed in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV).
Peach and prune harvests continued throughout the Central Valley while fig, nectarine, plum, raisin grape, table grape, Gala apple, and Granny Smith apple harvests continued primarily in the SJV.
The harvests for juicing grapes and wine grapes also began in the SJV as normal vineyard development continued across the state. New strawberry plantings began in the SJV. Pomegranates developed in size and color along with minor harvesting beginning of foothill varieties.
The Valencia orange harvest continued to slow down in the SJV. Normal spraying and maintenance continued in orchards and vineyards.
The Nonpareil almond harvest continued in full swing in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. Shaking, sweeping, gathering, and delivering activities continued. Quality continued to look good. Efforts to control navel orangeworm (NOW) and other pests have appeared successful overall.
Ground preparation and spraying was continued to prepare for the upcoming walnut harvest. NOW sprays began on pistachio orchards, which continued to develop, though at a slower pace than last year. Blanks have been reported in some pistachio orchards.
The processing tomato harvest was wrapping up in some areas and harvest crews continued to play catch-up. Tulare County’s string beans, assorted peppers, cherry tomatoes, melon, squash, eggplant, okra, and sweet corn were harvested. Planting began for cauliflower and broccoli.
In Sutter County, the harvests of farmers’ market vegetables including sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and other melon varieties continued.
Treatments for stinkbugs, mites, mold, and mildew were applied to processing tomatoes and melons were treated for weeds and worms. The tomato harvest in San Joaquin County continued with early varieties and green tomatoes. The harvests of bell peppers, watermelons, cantaloupe and pumpkins had begun. Some 40-inch beds were prepared for produce in Imperial County.
Fresno County producers finished the carrot harvest with average yield and low quality. The harvest of dehydrator onions was also finished with above average yields and good quality. Excellent yields were reported for processing tomatoes as the harvest neared completion. Quality decreased because the canning company was behind schedule.
The cantaloupe crop was in various stages; from bloom set to harvest preparation, depending on the time of planting. Basil, fresh market and processing tomatoes, bell peppers, fresh market red and white onions, honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, and tomatillo continued to be harvested in Merced County. Radicchio was planted and worm sprays were applied to tomato fields.