Here’s the latest California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s field office in Sacramento, Calif.
Unseasonably warm and dry conditions prevailed across most of California at the start of the week, with a high pressure ridge aloft centered over the West Coast, and surface high pressure settled over the Great Basin region of Northeastern Nevada.
This pattern brought a dry offshore flow to California, with very low humidity and warm daytime temperatures and cool nighttime temperatures. This pattern persisted until Feb. 5 when the first of two Pacific storm systems reached coastal California.
The first system brought widespread rainfall and cooler temperatures to most of the state.
The heaviest rains were reported across Southern California. A brief respite came Feb. 6 and 7, before the second low pressure system came ashore along the south-central coast.
The focus of the heaviest rains was in the south, while the northern counties saw light precipitation.
Field work was still in progress with ground preparation, cultivation, irrigation, and weed control in alfalfa, barley, oat, rye, and wheat fields. Rain this week greatly improved conditions. Irrigation was shut off in some areas due to the rain.
Cotton fields were prepared in Fresno County. Rice growers were reshaping berms, fertilizing, and irrigating in preparation for spring planting. Sweet potato hotbeds were being planted.
Dormant spraying was almost complete in orchards. Citrus harvest continued for lemons, Murcott tangerines, Minneola tangelos, Navel and Cara Cara oranges, and Pummelo and Melo Gold grapefruits. Drought began to threaten orchards in the San Joaquin Valley.
Kiwi harvest continued. Raspberry and strawberry nursery stock digging was completed. Cultural practices continued for pomegranate, nectarine, and apricot trees.
Pruning, tree planting, and disking continued in almond, walnut, and pistachio orchards in preparation for bloom. Dormant spraying was almost complete. Drought began to threaten orchards in the San Joaquin Valley.
Rains last week encouraged the growth of winter vegetables. Garlic, cabbage, and spring lettuce plantings also grew well. The cilantro harvest was completed, while the harvests of radicchios and other leafy vegetables progressed.
Greenhouse vegetable shipments to retail and wholesale markets increased. As weather permitted, field preparations for spring plantings were underway and fertilizer was applied. Lemongrass fields were covered, onion bulbs were planted for seed, and tomato beds were added with irrigation systems.