The latest California crop weather update from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., field office:
A trough of low pressure with rather limited moisture moved from the Gulf of Alaska to the northwest U.S. coast bringing variable cloudiness, light showers, and unseasonably cooler temperatures to the northern parts of California.
The associated cold front brought windy and gusty conditions to the Northern California region, especially throughout the Sierra passes and canyons.
This scenario increased the fire weather potential to several locations across the northern and central parts of California until the later part of the week. A cold pool of air was left in the area throughout the weekend with light showers lingering in the Sierra Nevada.
Consequently the dry and gusty air moved to Southern California through the weekend where several wild fires were sparked. As the trough of low pressure slowly moved toward the northern plains, the weather remained cool with a few high clouds in the sky.
• Field crops
Alfalfa continued to be harvested for green chop and for hay. Corn continued to be harvested for grain and silage. Harvested corn fields were prepared for winter wheat planting.
Cotton harvest started on early planted fields. Bolls matured and opened. Other cotton fields continued to be defoliated.
Rice harvest moved full speed ahead which caused trailer shortages and limited dryer space in some areas. Rice straw was baled, chopped, or burned.
Bean fields were cut and dried for harvest. Sunflower harvest continued. Fall field work continued in preparation for planting winter forage.
• Fruit crops
The raisin grape, table grape, wine grape, and apple harvests continued primarily in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV).
The fig harvest was completed while the kiwi harvest began. Light picking of peach, plum, and nectarine trees continued as the harvests neared completion. The pomegranate harvest was in full swing with Foothill and Wonderful varieties picked.
The SJV Valencia orange harvest continued to wind down. Navel oranges for the upcoming season continued to develop in size as growers applied growth regulator treatments. Mandarins were developing well, and harvest was expected to begin soon. The lemon harvest neared completion along the coastal region, and harvesting continued in the desert region.
Concerns about some Kern County citrus orchards arose after citrus leafminer pests were detected. Normal spraying and maintenance continued in orchards and vineyards, which included ongoing applications of fall fertilizer for fruit trees.
• Nut crops
The almond harvest neared completion in the Central Valley as hulling and stockpile fumigations continued. As part of post-harvest maintenance, some almond orchards were pruned.
The walnut and pistachio harvests accelerated in the Central Valley. Reported quality and yields have been good thus far.
• Vegetable crops
The harvest of various summer vegetables was ongoing in Tulare County, but activities were beginning to slow down. Assorted peppers, okra, sweet corn, squash, eggplant, and tomatoes were among the vegetables harvested.
San Joaquin County’s fall harvest continued for tomatoes and pumpkins. Tomatoes and melons were also harvested in Stanislaus County, with approximately one month left in the tomato season and 10 days left in the melon season. The planting of winter vegetables including spinach and broccoli began.
In Imperial County, the first cauliflower transplants were in the ground and a few fields of sweet corn were progressing. Stands were offering seedling broccoli and carrots.
In Merced County, harvests continued for basil, fresh market and processing tomatoes, bell peppers, honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon. The fresh market red and white onion harvest was completed and winter broccoli and radicchio were being planted. Worm sprays were applied to tomato fields.
Fresno County farmers dried basil seeds in preparation for harvest. The processing tomato harvest was completed and winter lettuce planting took place.
Asparagus was harvested in Kern County.