The latest California agriculture update from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., Field Office:
Strong high pressure settled over the Desert Southwest resulting in a common summer time pattern with very hot temperatures observed across most of California. The high pressure was generally centered over the interior, to the east of the state, with minor fluctuations in its position bringing relatively minor changes in the temperature pattern.
One significant exception occurred when a weak upper level low pressure trough approached the San Francisco Bay region. This resulted in a deepened marine layer, which brought a strong delta breeze to the Sacramento River Delta and the adjacent portions of the southern Sacramento and northern San Joaquin Valleys.
The areas saw some relief from the hot weather as the cooler marine air pushed into the region. By the end of the week, the high pressure had reasserted its influence over this region, and more typical summer conditions returned.
• Field crops
Aerial herbicide applications to rice fields slowed. Alfalfa fourth and fifth cuttings continued. Some areas received treatment for worms. Sudan grass continued to be cut and baled; fields were also treated for broadleaf. Winter forage and small grains continued to be harvested for hay and silage.
Cotton continued to progress with plants squaring and setting bolls. Adequate irrigation has contributed to the growing conditions.
Wheat harvest has been completed in most areas. Chickpea harvest concluded. Sunflower growth continued. Corn tasseled and early planted fields started harvest for silage; some fields were treated for mites. Sorghum continued to develop. Sugarbeet harvest started.
• Fruit crops
Nectarine, peach, fig, and plum harvests continued normally in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. The Seedless Royal and Flame grape harvest was in full swing in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Some fungicide sprays were applied to grape vineyards.
Cool weather persisted along the North Coast, though veraison began in vineyards. The Central Coast experienced warmer weather as veraison began for earlier maturing varieties, along with mildew treatments being applied. The blackberry harvest continued. Pomegranate development continued well.
The Valencia orange harvest began slowing down. Regreening occurrences continued in the SJV. Normal spraying and maintenance continued in orchards and vineyards along with increased irrigation to deal with hotter temperatures.
• Nut crops
Codling moth, mites, worm treatments, and sunburn prevention sprays continued for walnuts. Hull split and miticide spraying continued for almonds in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Hull split in almonds continued to pick up pace in most orchards.
• Vegetable crops
The harvest of summer vegetables continued in Tulare County and included peppers, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The second plantings of squash and cucumber were ongoing and recent irrigation applications increased due to higher temperatures. Honeydew melons were packed and shipped and the commercial tomato harvest was well underway.
In Fresno County, garlic and onions were being harvested. Despite excellent yields on processing tomatoes, the quality was deteriorating due to hot weather and sun burning. Yield and quality were looking good for the carrot crop.
Processing onions were about halfway through the harvest and yields were expected to be above average. The second half of fresh market onions were also being harvested and it is anticipated that hail damage from a few months ago will lower the yield.
Kern County’s melon harvest was finishing up. Due to its late start, farmers missed the Fourth of July market. Merced County’s fresh market tomato planting was almost completed and worm sprays were being applied to the fields. Fresh market and processing tomatoes were harvested along with bell pepper, fresh market red and white onions, honeydew, and cantaloupe.
The harvest of vegetable crops and melons for farmers’ markets also progressed in Sutter County. Maintenance activities, irrigation, and ground preparation continued. Treatments for lygus, mold, powdery mildew, aphids, and spider mites were applied to processing tomatoes and the harvest is expected to begin in the next few weeks.
Cantaloupes and honeydews were being harvested in Stanislaus County. Sulfur applications continued to be applied on tomatoes. Sweet corn was growing well and the early crop is about a month away from harvest.