The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office in Sacramento, Calif., released April 2, 2012.

Weather

A series of Pacific storms passed over California the week of March 26 bringing much needed rainfall to the valleys and snow to the mountains of Northern California. 

At the start of the week, a low pressure system approached the Northern California Coast and pushed a cold front across the state Tuesday. This brought moderate to heavy rains across the state with periods of heavy snow in the coastal mountain ranges and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

A short break in the weather came Wednesday as California sat between weather systems. The next storm system moved onto the North Coast late Thursday and spread heavy rain to that part of the state with light to moderate rainfall across most of the rest of the state. 

Temperatures across most of California remained relatively moderate through the week. The final cold front which passed through Saturday ushered in very cool temperatures along with strong, gusty winds.

Field crops

Continued rain events helped support the growth of small grains and recharge soil moisture supplies. Wheat, wheat hay, rye, and oats matured and were in fair to excellent condition. 

Small grain crops started to head out in earlier planted crops while later planted crops were still in the boot stage. Planting preparations were ongoing with some stoppages caused by recent weather events. 

Alfalfa fields greened well following pest and weed control applications. Some areas started the first cutting.

Rains hindered rice paddy draining, but ground preparation, fertilization, and draining continued as conditions permitted.

Fruit crops

The plum, peach, apricot, and nectarine blooms were complete in all but the latest varieties. Trees leafed out and showed fruit. 

Apricots were thinned in Stanislaus County. Cherries bloomed and began to leaf out. Prunes passed full bloom and leafed out in Sutter and Yuba Counties. 

Weed treatments and bloom sprays continued in stone fruit orchards. Grapevines leafed out. Apples bloomed and leafed out. 

Strawberry grounds were fumigated in San Joaquin County. In Tulare County, strawberry development slowed due to cooler temperatures. Olive groves were pruned.

Navel oranges, tangerines, tangelos, and lemons were harvested and packed for export. The harvest of late variety Navel oranges and Valencia oranges began. The Cara Cara orange harvest was wrapping up. Seedless tangerine groves were netted in preparation of the coming bloom. 

Nut crops

Almond bloom was over while trees leafed out and nuts formed. Freeze damage was apparent in some areas hit hard by the March cold spell.

Walnuts leafed out with early varieties in bloom. Pistachios were breaking bud.

Vegetable crops

Kern County reported carrot harvest. In Tulare County, Italian squash and cucumber seedlings were planted and tented under plastic. Tomatoes were planted under hot caps.

Fresno County reported planting processing tomato transplants. Carrot and bell pepper planting continued while onions were fertilized. 

In Stanislaus County, broccoli and spinach were harvested. Tomato transplants were planted and fertilized.

San Joaquin County reported the harvest of asparagus.

In Sutter County, field preparation work continued.