The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office in Sacramento, Calif., released March 19, 2012.


The weather for the week of March 12 was dominated by a broad, low pressure area which remained off the West Coast for most of the week.A couple of minor storm systems associated with this low pressure trough pushed through northern California during the week and brought widespread precipitation to that area, with the heaviest amounts falling on the North and Central Coast and on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

For most of the week, southern California missed the precipitation.The low pressure system driving these storms remained stationary for much of the week, but by Friday night it finally began to move inland.

Over the weekend, the low pressure moved across California and brought widespread rain and mountain snow to the entire state, even to Southern California.

Field crops

Grains had good growth in the northern portion of the state where more rain was received, and in the South where irrigated, but southern dryland fields had lagging development.Some grains were irrigated due to the lack of significant precipitation.

Wheat, wheat hay, rye, and oats matured and were in fair-to-excellent condition.

Alfalfa fields greened well following pest and weed control applications.

Heavy rains hindered some rice paddy draining. Ground preparation, fertilization, and draining continued as conditions permitted.

Field corn planting and preparation continued.

Spring cotton planting preparations continued with bed formation, pre-irrigation, and weed control.

Fruit crops

Plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and cherries bloomed.Growers applied bloom sprays to control fungus.Early varieties of stone fruit experienced petal fall.

The pruning of grape and kiwi vineyards ended.Vineyard spraying, irrigating, fertilizing, grafting, and repair work continued.Some grape varieties started to bud.

Pomegranate orchards were pruned.Blueberries bloomed and bees were used to pollinate.

Navel oranges, tangerines, tangelos, and lemons were harvested.The export of blood oranges, Cara Caras, and grapefruit continued.Valencia oranges were tested for maturity and harvest may start soon.

Nut crops

Almond bloom continued.Early varieties experienced petal fall.Almond trees began to leaf-out. Bees remained in almond orchards.

Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios were exported.Early walnut varieties were just beginning to leaf out.

Vegetable crops

Tulare County reported ground preparation and planting continued in vegetable fields. Certified producers continued early summer vegetables in greenhouses and cold frames.

Fresno County reported processing tomato transplants were planted.Fall planted garlic and onions emerged and grew well, as did spring head lettuce.Asparagus, spring broccoli, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, daikon, green onions, herbs, choys, chards, and kales were harvested.

In Stanislaus County, broccoli was harvested. Asparagus, lettuce, parsley, kale, and spinach grew well.

In Sutter County, onions and carrots flowered.