The latest California agriculture update from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., field office:
Weather across California at the start of the week was relatively mild for the time of year in the wake of the previous week’s cold front. Temperatures were near or slightly above normal.
As the week progressed, high pressure centered over the Four Corners region spread across California, resulting in a warming trend which lasted through Friday in the North, and into Saturday across southeastern California. On Saturday, a low pressure system moved across Northern California, bringing widespread thunderstorm activity.
Unfortunately many of these storms were dry and sparked numerous wildfires. Very little rain fell with the storms. On Sunday, temperatures cooled down considerably across the state. A cold front was approaching the northern coast bringing some rain to the far northern coastal stations on Sunday.
• Field crops
Warm temperatures helped open bolls in cotton fields. Some early planted fields received defoliation and harvest-aid applications. Other fields were treated for whitefly and aphids one last time for the season.
Alfalfa continued to be cut and baled with areas working on their sixth and seventh cuttings. Corn was cut for silage and harvested for grain.
Beans were cut in San Joaquin for drying. Cowpeas progressed toward maturity with drying pods in Tulare County.
• Fruit crops
Fig, nectarine, plum, Bartlett pear, raisin grape, table grape, wine grape, juicing grape, Gala apple, and Granny Smith apple harvests continued primarily in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). The prune harvest was completed, while the peach, plum, and nectarine harvests continued to slow down.
The wine grape harvest continued along the North Coast as high temperatures increased sugar levels. Pomegranates continued to develop in size and color, along with light harvesting of Foothill and Early Wonderful varieties in the SJV.
The Valencia orange harvest in the SJV continued at a slower pace. Navel oranges for the upcoming season continued to develop in size. The lemon harvest continued along the central and southern coasts. Normal spraying and maintenance continued in orchards and vineyards.
• Nut crops
The almond harvest continued, though at a slower pace, in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. Shaking was completed for the Nonpareil variety while some shaking continued for other varieties. Sweeping, gathering, and delivering activities continued for all varieties.
Quality looked good overall, though concerns about lower yields, likely caused by the March frost, remained.
Ground preparation and spraying continued to prepare for the upcoming walnut and pistachio harvests.
• Vegetable crops
Sutter County’s harvest of sweet corn, tomatoes, cucurbit, watermelon, cantaloupe, and other melon varieties for farmers’ markets continued.
Treatments for stinkbug, mites, and mold continued for processing tomatoes. Treatments for weeds and worms in melon fields continued. Processing tomato, melon and bean harvest continued.
In San Joaquin County, the harvest of tomatoes for processing and fresh market purposes continued. Excellent yields have been reported. Some tomato fields were being sprayed with fungicide for mold prevention.
Picking of pumpkins started and the picking of melons and bell peppers continued. Tulare County growers continued the harvest of eggplant, squash, peppers, okra, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Strawberry blocks were replanted, others were tilled and fumigated.
In Merced County basil, tomato, bell peppers, onions, honeydew, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and watermelon harvest continued. Radicchio planting continued. Tomatillo harvest was completed.