The latest California Crop Weather Report from the California office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, released May 16.


A weak system that brought light precipitation to the Sierra Nevada and parts of Southern California brushed over the state early last week (week of May 9). Weak high pressure that brought warmer temperatures a few degrees within the seasonal normal built up over the state through the midweek.

The most prominent feature of the week was an upper low that dropped along the Pacific Coast from the Gulf of Alaska early in the weekend. Cold air with the system forced the coolest daytime temperatures in Northern California in 100 years. Low elevation snow was observed as far down as 2,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada.

Instability in the cold air behind the system spawned several thunderstorms throughout the Sacramento and the San Joaquin valleys on Sunday.

Field crops

Favorable weather conditions quickened the pace of field work. Spring planting moved forward throughout the state. Fertilizing, rolling, flooding, and sowing activities occurred in Sacramento Valley rice fields.

The second cutting of alfalfa was at various stages of cutting and baling. Sunflower seed crop planting continued.

Winter wheat and oat fields were harvested and hay was left to dry in fields. Barley and wheat headed out across the Central Valley.

Cotton was planted as some more mature fields began leaf development.

Corn, sorghum, and dry bean planting were ongoing. Spring field work continued with weed control in small grain and alfalfa fields, pre-plant herbicide applications, and spring tillage to prepare seedbeds.

Fruit crops

The Valencia orange and lemon harvests continued normally in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV), as the Navel orange and mandarin harvests wound down.

Early cherries were picked in Southern California and the SJV. The SJV blueberry and strawberry harvests were ongoing as the strawberry harvest began in the Sacramento Valley.

Grapes were at various stages of growth from shoot growth to flowering. Thinning plus weed and pest control continued in fruit orchards and vineyards.

Nut crops

Normal nut drop continued in almond orchards while limited overall pest activity was observed. Blight spray was ongoing in walnut orchards.

Vegetable crops

Fresno County reported tomatoes and dehydrator onions were treated with insecticide and fertilizer on a weekly basis but the rains may cause some problems. Carrots looked good.

In Merced County, bell pepper, cantaloupe, honeydew, and tomato planting continued as the asparagus harvest was winding down.

San Joaquin County reported that asparagus production was near the end, processing and fresh market tomatoes were transplanted, and carrot planting was underway. Field work and aphid control in the carrot crop continued in Sutter County.

In Siskiyou County, dehydrator onions emerged and were treated for weeds.