The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office in Sacramento, Calif., released May 7, 2012.


A diminishing high pressure ridge brought warm weather to northern interior California at the start of the week of April 30. Southern California had cool, moist conditions caused by a strong onshore flow pattern. 

A series of Pacific storms brushed the northern half of the state through early Friday with the strongest and most organized frontal system moving through on Thursday. This resulted in widespread but relatively light precipitation for the North. Southern California experienced a relatively cool and moist onshore flow.

By Friday afternoon, most of that last frontal system had moved out of the state and warming and drying began. Gusty, northerly winds developed across Northern California on Saturday and continued on Sunday. 

Southern California did not see a strong dry-offshore pattern. Instead, a moist northwest flow developed by the weekend.

Field crops

Warm and dry conditions aided the maturation progress for wheat. Nearly the entire crop was headed amid some harvesting in southern parts of the state. Some early-planted wheat was cut for hay and silage as conditions were mostly good to excellent. Oat hay cutting continued.

Alfalfa growers advanced to the second cutting in the Central Valley.

Warmer soil temperatures benefited cotton as producers planted at a rapid pace.

Corn showed good development. Some rice was planted.

Fruit crops

Plum, prune, peach, apricot, and nectarine fruit progressed and developed. The harvest began in several early peach and apricot varieties. 

Cherry fruit was developing as growers sprayed for the oriental fruit fly. Early cherry varieties were close to harvest in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Weed treatments and bloom spray applications continued in stone fruit orchards.

Grape and kiwi vines grew fast as temperatures increased while shoot thinning started in grape vineyards. Grapes were blooming in early varieties and locations. Mating disruption technology for the European grapevine moth was implemented in high-risk vineyards.

Pomegranates and persimmons leafed out. Apples bloomed and leafed out.

Blueberries and strawberries were picked and packed in Tulare County. Strawberries matured in the northern part of the state.

Orange and avocado trees were in full bloom. Navel oranges, tangerines, tangelos, and lemons were harvested and packed for export. The harvest of late variety Navel oranges and early Valencia oranges picked up. 

Nut crops

Almond nuts developed nicely. Hail damage was evaluated in the SJV, but the overall crop looked large. Heavy sets were reported across the state.

Walnuts were in full bloom as blight applications continued. 

The pistachio bloom ran its course in the Fresno area. Fungicides were applied to some orchards.

Vegetable crops

Carrots and lettuce were harvested in Kern County.

In Tulare County, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, and squash were planted as the greenhouse squash harvest began. 

Fresno County reported the irrigation and fertilization of garlic and onions. 

In Stanislaus County, tomatoes were planted. 

San Joaquin County reported asparagus harvest. Processing tomatoes were transplanted. Onions were planted.

Field preparation continued as tomato transplants were planted in Sutter County.