The latest California agriculture update from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sacramento, Calif., field office:
At the start of the week, northern California enjoyed mild weather with below normal temperatures as low pressure brushed that part of the state. Southern California remained under the influence of strong high pressure which brought hotter than normal temperatures to that region. The high pressure rebuilt over the entire state as the week progressed with the hottest weather Wednesday through Friday.
By the weekend, a cold front had pushed across the state resulting in a cooling trend; first in the North and then spreading to southern California. The only significant precipitation associated with this front was reported along the North Coast region.
• Field crops
Rice harvest started in Merced and Yuba counties. Other areas were draining fields in preparation for harvest. Cotton continued to progress in growth and bolls were opening on plants.
Alfalfa was cut and baled with areas entering their sixth and seventh cuttings. Pests have not been a significant problem in alfalfa this year in the southern San Joaquin Valley (SJV).
Corn for silage and corn for grain harvests continued. Corn for silage is at various stages of growth due to spread out planting dates. Safflower fields were harvested in Fresno County. The black-eyed pea harvest continued. Dried beans were windrowed.
• Fruit crops
Peach and prune harvests continued at a slower pace throughout the Central Valley while fig, nectarine, plum, Bartlett pear, raisin grape, table grape, wine grape, juicing grape, Gala apple, and Granny Smith apple harvests continued primarily in the SJV.
The wine grape harvest was also underway along the North Coast. The Asian pear harvest was underway in the SJV with the Yali and Shinko varieties picked. Pomegranates continued to develop in size and color with light harvesting of Foothill and Early Wonderful varieties in the SJV.
The SJV Valencia orange harvest continued at a slower pace. The lemon harvest continued along the central and southern coasts. Normal spraying and maintenance continued in orchards and vineyards.
• Nut crops
The almond harvest continued at a slower pace in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. Shaking was nearly complete for the Nonpareil variety while shaking continued for other varieties. Sweeping, gathering, and delivering activities continued for all varieties.
Almond quality continued to look good though some growers expressed concern over lower yields likely caused by the March frost.
Ground preparation and spraying was continued to prepare for the upcoming walnut and pistachio harvests.
• Vegetable crops
Fresno County’s summer vegetables were harvested including squash, radishes, fresh market and processing tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, long beans, daikon, herbs, onions, tomatillos and bittermelon.
The harvests of watermelon, cantaloupe, and mixed melons were in full swing and pumpkin fields were growing well with good fruit set and sizing. The garlic harvest was winding down.
Late-season squash, fall head lettuce, and cucumbers were planted. Growers were controlling weeds with herbicides, hand crews, and cultivation. They were also working on pre-irrigation, soil fumigation, and shaping beds.
San Joaquin County’s fall tomato harvest continued while the onion harvest was nearly complete. Farmers picked bell peppers, watermelons, and squash. Picking started in pumpkin fields.
The watermelon harvest was wrapping up in Sacramento County, but processing tomatoes continued to be harvested. Local peppers, tomatoes, melons, and sweet corn continued to be harvested in Tulare County.
Farmers in Merced County were harvesting basil, fresh market and processing tomatoes, bell peppers, fresh market red and white onions, honeydew, cantaloupe, and tomatillos. Worm sprays were applied to tomato fields. The planting of radicchio continued.
A small amount of organic greens were harvested in Kern County.