The latest California Crop Weather report from the Sacramento, Calif., Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, released Aug. 2.
The last week of July 2011 found California in a relatively quiet weather pattern, lying in between the hot high pressure centered over the Four Corners region and a persistent low pressure trough off the coast and over the Pacific Northwest. The pattern resulted in temperatures a little below normal across the northern half of the state and close to normal across Southern California.
As the week progressed, the high pressure grew stronger and spread warmer temperatures into Northern California. At the same time, Southern California coastal valleys saw increased onshore flow which cooled temperatures slightly.
The Southern California interior remained hot. Subtropical moisture circulating around the high pressure brought some thunderstorm activity to the deserts and the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These showers were the only measurable precipitation for the week.
By the weekend, low pressure off the northern coast pushed into the north resulting in a very slight cooling trend.
Nearly all winter wheat is harvested across the state. Other small grain crop harvests progressed well.
While lygus, aphids, and spider mite outbreaks were looming in cotton fields coupled with a late crop, progress has been normal with nearly the entire production reaching the squaring developmental stage and about three quarters in the setting bowl phase. Bloom advanced well.
Rice fields were in mostly good to excellent condition and weed treatments continued.
Alfalfa producers harvested the second to fourth cuttings from the northern to southern areas with good yields reported. Some producers reported major problems with beet armyworms and alfalfa caterpillars in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV).
The corn for silage harvest was ongoing. Mint grew well in Siskiyou County and received treatments for late weeds and mites. Although late, Easter lilies grew well on the North Coast.
Grape vineyards across California developed well with the recent warm weather. The grape harvest was underway in southern SJV growing regions. Mildew issues were reported in some regions.
Peaches, nectarines, and plums were harvested. Prunes developed well. The pear harvest was underway.
The Valencia orange and grapefruit harvest continued.
Blueberries and strawberries are being picked in the SJV. Apples, kiwis, and pomegranates grew well. Weed control continued in orchards.
Almond growers applied hull split sprays as hull split in orchards continued across the state. The Nonpareil hull split was ahead of later varieties. Almond growers continued preparations for harvest.
Walnut, pistachio, and pecan orchards showed good development. Walnut growers sprayed for codling moth.
Kern County reported carrot, watermelon, cantaloupe, and bell pepper harvests. Tomatoes were doing well.
In Tulare, honeydew melons were harvested as well as squash, eggplant, tomatoes, watermelons, and gourds.
Good harvest conditions for carrots, tomatoes, onions, and garlic were reported in Fresno County. Processing tomato and cantaloupe harvests were starting. Winter carrots were planted and other fields were prepared for the next crop.
Merced County reported fresh tomatoes looked good.
In San Joaquin County, the onion harvest was winding down, fresh and processing tomatoes began to turn color, and the watermelon harvest was underway.
The processing tomato harvest began in Sutter County.