The latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., Field Office:
The week of July 5 included lower than normal temperatures across Southern California due to a thick marine layer which penetrated the inland areas. The marine stratus also brought thick, low clouds to the coastal valleys including the Salinas area which prevented temperatures from reaching much above 70 degrees.
Traces of precipitation were measured along the coast in the Oxnard/Ventura areas. Beginning Tuesday, thunderstorms developed along the Sierra Nevada range from Yosemite north to the Lake Shasta area. Brief and locally heavy precipitation occurred.
By mid-week, strong winds up to 40 miles per acre were noted through the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta regions which kept temperatures cooler. The later part of the period brought a weakened marine influence as high pressure began to build across the Golden State allowing temperatures to recover to near normal levels.
Rice fields continued to progress and were treated with herbicides. Alfalfa was cut and baled for hay with many areas in the Central Valley on the fourth cutting. Safflower fields bloomed and formed seed heads in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV).
Cotton fields were irrigated, cultivated, and treated for weeds and insects. Corn and sorghum growth continued. New fields were planted.
Forages and other small grains were harvested for hay and silage. Wheat, oats, rye, and barley were harvested for grain. Garbanzo bean fields dried down.
The blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry harvests continued near completion in the SJV. The apricot harvest slowed down while the picking of peaches and nectarines continued normally.
The Navel orange harvest was complete. The Valencia orange harvest continued in the Central Valley and along the southern coast. Lemons were picked along the coastal region. The fig harvest continued at a normal pace.
As the SJV grape harvest began, leaves and bunches were thinned in vineyards to increase light exposure for color and maturity. Cool temperatures slowed grape development in Napa County vineyards. Maintenance to orchards, groves, and vineyards included pruning, fertilizer sprays, and pest control. Irrigation frequency increased as the temperatures began to rise across the state.
Early hull split sprays began in almond orchards to control the navel orange worm. Some hull split was observed in San Joaquin almond orchards, though widespread hull split is not expected for approximately two weeks. Mite levels increased slightly in orchards which caused some growers to plan additional miticide sprays.
Herbicide applications along with codling moth sprays were made in walnut orchards.
Weed control was ongoing in nut orchards in the Central Valley.
The summer vegetable harvest continued. In Tulare County, the harvest included peppers, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, and sweet corn.
Fields of bell pepper, cantaloupe, honeydew, and tomatoes were planted in Merced County. The harvest continued for squash, tomatoes, parsley, and watermelons.
In Kern County, the melon and tomato harvests were behind schedule due to cooler spring weather. Sweet corn, melons, and tomatoes planted late in Stanislaus County developed. The cantaloupe harvest will begin in late July.
Onions were harvested and packed in San Joaquin County and were treated for thrips in Siskiyou County.
In Fresno County, the onion harvest began with good sizing in the white, yellow, and red varieties. Garlic dried down in preparation for harvest.
Some fields of bell peppers and fresh market tomatoes were harvested while others continued to bloom and showed color. Irrigation and sulfur were applied to processing tomato fields and white powder was dusted onto the crop to prevent sunburn.
Asparagus and sweet pea harvests were complete. Carrots progressed well. Leafy vegetables including collards and mustard greens, turnips, and lettuce were harvested. Eggplant, daikon, green onions, herbs, lemon grass, spinach, squash, sweet corn, and tomatillos were harvested.
Growers continued to transplant and seed crops of cucumber, eggplant, and squash.