The weather pattern over California this week brought near normal conditions for the middle of August. The state is very dry, except for extreme northern California, north of the city of Ukiah. The Pacific High continues to dominate the Golden State steering most storms into the Pacific Northwest. However, rain did fall north of Ukiah, California from the tail end of cold fronts moving into the Northwest, ranging from a trace up to about half an inch of precipitation. Sky conditions were mostly clear for the rest of California. Daytime high temperatures throughout the state were seasonable with 60s and 70s along the immediate coast, 80s to upper 90s in the valley and foothills, uppers 90s to around 120 in the desert, and 70s through the lower 90s in the mountains.
Safflower fields continued with harvest. Sorghum continued to advance. Barley and wheat fields were still being windrowed and baled as straw. Alfalfa seed fields were being dried down before harvest. Fields continued to be windrowed, raked, and baled for the production of alfalfa hay. Harvest of corn continued for silage and grain. Cotton fields were in bloom and squaring. Growers continued to look for aphid, mite, and lygus in cotton. Rice fields continued to grow nicely while treated for weeds. Early planted sugar beet fields were being harvested. Fall sugar beets were being irrigated and treated to control insects and diseases.
Some grape varieties were being laid down to dry marking the start of the raisin grape harvest. Table and wine grape harvest continued. Chardonnay, Flame and Thompson Seedless, Autumn Royal, Princess, Diamond Muscat, Black Emerald, Red Globe and Summer Royal varieties were harvested. Stone fruit and pomegranate cultural practices such as irrigation, summer pruning and treatments to control weeds and insect pests continued. Stone fruit varieties picked were August Flame, August Lady, Autumn Red, Henry II, Ivory Princess, Jasper Gem, Jasper Treasure, O’Henry, Prima 23, Prima 29, Rich Lady, Ryan Sun, September Flame 32, Snow King, Spring Treat, Sugar Crisp, September Snow, Summer Flame, Summer Sweet, Summer Zee, Sweet Kay, Sweet Sun and Trazee peaches; Black Splendor, Fortune, Friar, Howard Sun, Kelsey, Lone Star and Sugar Heart plums; Apple Fire, Dapple Dandy, Dapple Fire, Dinosaur Egg, Emerald Beaut, Emerald Sweet, Flavor Grenade, Flavor Heart and Mango Tango pluots; Arctic Pride, August Fire, August Pearl, Diamond Pearl, Fire Pearl, Red Lion, Regal Red, Red Roy, Ruby Bright, Summer Bright, Summer Fire, Sunny Gun and Zee Fire nectarines. Figs, Gala and McIntosh apples and Asian pears were also being harvested. Various kinds of berries were still being picked in parts of the State. Olive fruits were sizing nicely, though harvest was still expected to be low in some groves. Some groves were not expected to be picked. Lemons were harvested. Valencia orange harvest remained slow. Navel oranges were developing size and were sprayed for scale.
Almond harvest remained underway. Some groves were still being irrigated. Walnut orchards were being prepared for harvest. Some walnut groves were also irrigated. Treatments for husk fly and mites continued in some areas.
Ground continued to be prepared for fall vegetables in the Imperial Valley, with applications of pesticides for nematode suppression for carrot production; some carrots were harvested. In southern San Joaquin Valley, carrot harvest had slowed way down for the month of August but will start to pick up in September. In central San Joaquin Valley, commercial tomato harvest was virtually complete with very good quality. Summer carrot harvest was virtually complete. Crops such as peppers, eggplant and cucumbers continued to be picked with good quality. Garlic, onion, bell pepper and processed tomato harvests continued. Harvest of okra, long beans, squash, sweet corn, cilantro, and various Oriental vegetables continued. Harvests of watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and mixed melon were still going strong. Fall crop carrots were being planted and irrigated. In northern San Joaquin Valley current vegetables harvested included fresh market tomatoes, melons and bell peppers. Farther north, harvests of fresh market onion, summer squash, and processing tomatoes continued, as well as worm spraying for tomatoes. In southern and central Sacramento Valley harvests continued for fresh market and processing tomatoes, sweet corn, beans, cucumbers and melons with good quality reported. Fungicide and insecticide treatments on tomatoes and beans continued as well as treatments for weeds and worms in melon fields.
Very poor feed and water conditions continued on rangeland and pasture in many areas of the state, and producers continued to contend with high supplemental feed costs. Cattle were receiving supplements of hay and other nutrients at all elevations. The high fire dangers reported throughout the summer remained in many areas. Stocker and feeder cattle continued to move to out-of-state locations with better grazing conditions. Irrigated pastures were in good condition. Early fall calving of beef cows continued. The seasonal decline in milk production continued at most dairies. Sheep and goats were grazing on idle farmland, harvested grain fields, and some rangeland in the central part of the state. Honeybees continued to pollinate melon fields in the central area and sunflower and vineseed crops in the north, and some remained in holding areas. Leafcutter bees were in alfalfa seed fields.