The latest California Crop Weather report from the Sacramento, Calif., Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service released Feb. 14.

Weather

An upper level high pressure ridge developed over the California coast at the start of the week and grew stronger as the week progressed, bringing fair skies and dry conditions to the state.

Cold weather systems passing well to the north and coast of California set up a strong low level pressure gradient which resulted in a fairly strong offshore flow bringing very dry conditions to Southern California. 

This offshore flow also affected Northern California and brought an end to the persistent Central Valley fog. It also brought fairly warm conditions to the Central Coast region.

The high pressure ridge remained in place until the weekend when it shifted slightly east as a Pacific storm system approached the coast. The weekend’s weather was the warmest for much of the state. No significant precipitation was recorded in California.

Field crops

Work in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) continued with plowing, disking, planting, and spraying in fields. Rice field work in the Sacramento Valley continued with the drainage of fields and incorporation of rice straw into the soil. Saturated low-lying areas have dried and affected crops were recovering.

Dryland grain fields received adequate winter precipitation and established good stands. Forage mixes plus winter wheat, barley, and oats matured as temperatures warmed to spring levels.

Grain fields in the Central Valley received the first irrigation of the season.

Alfalfa field maintenance continued with established fields treated for weeds while new fields were planted and emerged.

Fruit crops

The SJV Navel orange, mandarin, lemon, pummelo, and grapefruit harvests continued. The pace of harvest quickened to limit fruit losses due to rind break down. Lemons and grapefruit were picked in the desert region.

Pruning, spraying, and planting in orchards and vineyards resumed as conditions improved. Peach and plum trees budded and began to show color. Early blooming started for some fruit trees.

Nut crops

Pruning, spraying, and tree removal in pistachios and walnut orchards was performed as field conditions allowed. Placement of bee colonies in almond orchards for pollination continued across California. 

The almond bloom has begun and with more bloom expected soon most farmers were getting ready for bloom spray. Meanwhile, the forecast called for rain around the critical spray period.

Vegetable crops

Kern County reported planting of spring vegetables. Tulare County reported mustard green, cabbage, and oriental cabbage grown for farmers markets.

In Fresno County, winter broccoli harvest continued. The harvest of beets, cabbage, turnips, daikon, green onions, herbs, the choys, chards, and kales were in full swing. Fall planted garlic and onion grew well while some onion farmers reported a two-week delay in planting fields due to wet soil conditions. Asparagus and carrot seeds fields were planted. Spring lettuce emerged and grew well.

Merced County reported the continued harvest of radicchio.