The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office in Sacramento, Calif., released April 9, 2012.

Weather 

A high pressure ridge over the West Coast brought dry and mild conditions to California at the start of the week of April 2, 2012. By Tuesday, a low pressure system in the Gulf of Alaska pushed a cold front toward Northern California. This feature spread some showers over the far northern coastal region while the rest of the state enjoyed dry and mild conditions.

By Wednesday, the cold front spread across Northern California bringing scattered showers and cooler temperatures. The same system created a relatively strong offshore flow for Southern California which brought very dry conditions to the Southland. This pattern persisted through Friday with the North having relatively cool weather with light precipitation while the South was warm and dry.

The low pressure system finally shifted eastward out of the state by the end of the week and high pressure built over the region. This resulted in a drying and warming trend for the North, plus continued dry and mild conditions for Southern California.

Field crops

Wheat, grain hay, rye, and oats matured and were in fair to excellent condition. Over half of the winter wheat crop was headed out. Precipitation events over the past weeks have reduced the pressure on producers to irrigate the crops.

Cotton producers’ main activity was preparing seedbeds. Some producers planted during the week.

Alfalfa fields greened well following pest and weed control applications. Producers made the first cutting of alfalfa during the week.

Rice ground preparation, fertilization, and draining continued throughout the week.

Fruit crops

Plum, peach, apricot, and nectarine bloom was complete in all but the latest varieties. Trees were almost fully leafed out and showing fruit. Thinning continued in apricots. Cherries bloomed and leafed out. 

Prunes were past full bloom and began to leaf out in Sutter and Yuba Counties. Weed treatments and bloom sprays continued in stone fruit orchards. Kiwis were exported. 

Grapevines leafed out while growth accelerated.

Apples started to bloom and leaf out. Strawberries were transplanted in Siskiyou County. Roadside strawberry stands opened in Tulare County. Olive groves were pruned.

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

Nut crops

The almond bloom was over. Almond trees leafed out and nuts grew larger. Freeze damage was apparent in some areas hit hard by the March cold spell.

Walnuts leafed out while early varieties bloomed. Growers applied blight sprays.

Pistachios leafed out. Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios were exported. 

Vegetable crops

Kern County reported carrot harvest and tomato planting.

In Tulare County, Italian squash, tomato, and cucumber seedlings were planted and tented under plastic and hot caps. Processing tomato seedlings were planted on the west side of the county.

Fresno County reported thriving processing tomato transplants while the lettuce harvest began. Garlic and onions established a good start.

In Stanislaus County, broccoli and spinach were harvested while tomato transplants were planted.

San Joaquin County reported asparagus harvest.

In Sutter County, field preparation continued and processing tomato transplants were delivered to fields.